Cleaning Queen Excluder


I recently replaced my plastic queen excluders with stainless steel ones. Are there any tips on how to efficiently clean them ?

It is easy to clean the flat surfaces with the J-tool, but it is rather a pain to clean between the wires.

Thanks in advance.

Hiya Perth :flushed:, welcome to the forum. I like to keep a couple spare and swap over during inspections.
I have a solar wax melter that I use to clean up but have used a heat gun in the past. Even just leaving outside in the sun on a hot day will melt the wax off.


That’s a great idea, cheers Skeggley. Though finding myself abruptly unemployed I was hoping for a free solution. Haha!

Those solar melters are not cheap but shouldn’t be hard to make one out of a shiny container and a sheet of glass?

1 Like

This reminded me in a second question I had lined up.

This year I started collecting all the burr comb and I have a few hundred grams in a bucket stored in the shed.

Being a Flow hive user, I will have significantly less wax that can be rendered. I’m wondering what fellow Flowies do with their burr comb, and how much is needed to be worthwhile rendering. It is a messy process.

Hi Perth, Wax will keep indefinitely if you can keep the wax moth out. You can freeze it if you’ve got freezer space. I would just keep letting it build up. I process all my bees wax from 50 traditional hives. It’s quite easy with no mess if you go about it in the correct manner.

I use a hive tool or a paint scraper to clean wax off wire QEs. I never try to remove the wax from between the wires. The bees will quickly remove it if it’s in their way.
I’ve got one tip: Put the excluder in the sun for a little while to soften the wax.


Cheers Jeff.

I suspected I was wasting my time trying to clean between the wires on every inspection. That’s one less task. I also use a wide paint scraper sometimes to get the job done quicker. If I’m not careful I decapitate a few bees so I use it less these days.

Was wondering whether anyone made a DIY solar melter and happy with the result. There are plenty of wild ideas on the world wide web. Can a solar wax melter get too hot for beeswax, on hot summer’s day her in Perth?

I made a solar melter and on hot days it will melt the wax down at no cost except for the making of the box. I put the dirty wax in a flour sieve with a couple of sheets of chux in it to filter the wax. Sit the sieve in a bowl with water in it so you can get the wax out easily.
Do as @JeffH says about cleaning up the QX, scrape off the bur comb and the bees will clean what is left between the wires. Shake the QX to remove the bees but if you kill a few then get rid of the bodies as SHB will lay eggs in them.

Here’s mine thrown together with scrap around the yard, I’m working on a new one using a ss sink.
Even just a black piece of tin under the qx on a sunny day will clean it.
Yes little by little it builds up, mine goes straight into a container in the fridge, after a few years I now have a few kilos.
Like you I’m now on indefinite leave but am still on call for emergency breakdowns. This will give me more time to get into some of my gunna projects.
Don’t think you’ll have much problem with SHB. :wink:


Yeah, SHB are least of my worries at the moment :+1:

That looks awesome skeggley. Do you filter it directly inside that contraption? I saw someone on YouTube that puts the burr comb in a foil tray, inside the melter, with some paper tissues as filter and rendered wax drips into a plastic container. I have my doubts it works well.

I notice yours is black inside. Should it be black to absorb heat, or silver to reflect it? Must have missed that physics lesson in high school.

I also need to find a good use for the wax.

And I like the colour of your dirt. :+1:

Contraption! :flushed:
I do several stage filtration, heat water and wax, then scrape the slum gum off then reheat and pour through a coarse mesh into water, reheat then a fine mesh. This gives me a relatively clean wax which I store in the beer fridge. I will refine it at a later date. I like it because it’s a walk away job. I have heard you can overheat bee wax and the melter gets seriously hot.
Yes the black absorbs the heat which is what you want. You also need something with a good thermal mass inside so the wax cools slowly or it will crack. Sometimes the wax itself can provide that mass.
Funny you should mention the dirt, I was going to mention it in the post. You can just see a concrete slab under the blue barrel, I’ve started removing them and need a sledge hammer to hit the garden fork under to lift it out. My house is build behind a basalt vein and the sediment that has built up is like concrete in summer and clay in winter. It is a no dig zone in summer and sometimes cracks open up and we drop coins in for future generations. :blush:

1 Like

I only remove wax off a QX if I think it’s going to squash any bees while replacing it. If it hasn’t been off for a while, it will almost certainly need cleaning. You can put it away from the hive, in the sun while you do the brood inspection. By the time you’re ready to replace it, the wax should be easy to remove. Any bees can be shaken or bumped off.


The outside of my solar melter is painted black to absorb the heat and the inside is silver, that choice wasn’t based on science but it just made sense to me. My next version will be bigger so that I can put a full depth frame in it. I filter my wax thru a couple of layers of Chux


Yummy. Looks like Parmigiano-Reggiano. I only have enough to make a mini Babybel at the moment.

I was thinking, I can make a funnel, line it with a filter of sorts, put my burr comb in it, and place it on a plastic tub so the filtered molten wax goes into it. All this goes in black box covered with glass in the sun. The heat will kill any wax moth, that I shouldn’t have anyway.

Yes, apparently if wax is heated too much it won’t be fit for human consumption. Not that I’m going to eat it.