Saturday, December 11, 2010

Day #61 Stability and Slumgum

How long does beeswax last?

Well, The Beekeeper's Handbook tells me that it is stable for thousands of years. I'll keep that in mind.

I also need to know this: when I'm melting beeswax in my solar melter (the one I guess I need to build), old comb won't melt as well, and will form a dark, gummy residue called slumgum. (No, I am not kidding.) I can put it in my compost pile. Well, that's encouraging.

Does that mean that if I came across an old stash of beeswax, say from the time of the pharoahs, it would all be slumgum? Does "old" mean "used many times and therefore contaminated with dirt, oils, pollen grains, and such?" Or does "old" in this case simply mean "well-aged"? I don't know. The book doesn't say.

 But, the next time I come across some really old, old beeswax, I'll melt it and see if I have the making of candles, cosmetics, floor polish, car polish, furniture polish, adhesives, crayons, chewing gum, ski wax, or even some kinds of ink.

Or will it just be a big lump of slumgum?

BEEattitude for Day # 61:
       Blessed are the archaeologists, for they shall live in wonder of the ancient world. 

One thing Fran is grateful for right now:
       The rich dark soil I get from my compost pile.
       And one other thing - the folks at,  commercial beekeepers who avoid using chemicals on their bees. I like that attitude! Their queens are resistant to varroa mites.

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