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Author Topic: Hive Melter / Sterilizer (bench-top)  (Read 39 times)

Offline ZombieDave

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Hive Melter / Sterilizer (bench-top)
« on: December 05, 2016, 06:43:25 PM »
Hello all, this is my first post to this forum. I am a bee keeper of 3 years now, and have been learning a lot and refining the way i do things.

I am writing this post because I have had a problem with wax moths and having to clean out hives for reuse. Doing this by hand is a real pain, so I have done some research into a better method, and I think I have come up with something  that suits me a little better than what i have found so far. I have take some inspiration from youtube for some designs using steam, but I have not seen a post HERE yet for a general "hive melter/sterilizer".

My design differs from others I have seen in that it uses a hot air gun rather than piping in steam. And it is a little smaller. For my setup I have taken a heat gun for wire-shrink-wrap, but a hair drier would work just as well. my design is a little smaller than the one in the link, but it has the advantage of being able to run inside on the bench top while i do other things.

With my design, I can melt 1 or 2 hive bodies at a time, and can bring a box temperature to above 220F in about 20 minutes. The comb all melts and the wax runs down the sloped floor and out the drain hole. I have insulated the bottom with spray foam to help keep the heat in. Plastic foundation will melt and be destroyed, but usually stays behind and do not contaminate the wax. I do however end up with plenty of grubs mixed in with the wax, so I boil the wax afterwards to help clean it up a bit.

The other possible advantage of a heat gun over steam is that you do not expose the wood to high levels of damaging moisture, which might in the long run add a few years of life to equipment.

Apologies I did not think to take any pictures until i had the melter mostly assembled. I also did not take any of it in use, I will add more pictures the next time i need to clean out some hives.