Home Beekeeping Ducks in a row | Bad Beekeeping Blog

Ducks in a row | Bad Beekeeping Blog

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Ducks in a row | Bad Beekeeping Blog

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We’ve had unusually mild weather for September and October in Calgary. The heat gave us a chance to clean up some odd bits of beeswax – and turn them into ducks.

I bought this melter, built by Uncle Lee’s Bees in Calgary, a couple of years ago. It quickly builds a high temperature. It is easy to load and clean. Very light to move. Easy to store over winter. I find it hard to believe that it was designed, produced, and sold for just a few hundred dollars. (You can buy one from Worker and Hive in Calgary.) On the other hand, it would take a hobby beekeeper a few years of wax sales to earn the $335CAN ($260US) that it cost. But that’s not the point. Producing nice-quality wax and doing it cleanly, efficiently, using the sun’s energy – and not on the kitchen stove! – is the real point. We found that this melter took the pressure off the kitchen, kept bowls and cutlery from being destroyed, and saved on our electric bill.

It can be expensive running an electric or steam-powered wax melter – and frankly, a waste of energy and money. Of course, there is some energy input in the manufacture and delivery of this unit (glass, insulation, metal, plastics, delivery trucks) but there are equivalent costs in any melter. At most, I would make a wide guess that after labour and profit to the manufacturer and retailer, there might be $40 in actual energy expenses building and delivering this solar wax melter. That’s a couple dollars a year over the lifetime of this melter. All the other energy needs are supplied by the sun.

This melter won’t be for everyone. Nothing ever is. And if we all loved the same thing, we’d all be married to my grandmother, as my grandfather was. But if you are looking for a way to turn cappings into ducks, this is it.

About Ron Miksha

Ron Miksha is a bee ecologist working at the University of Calgary. He is also a geophysicist and does a bit of science writing and blogging. Ron has worked as a radio broadcaster, a beekeeper, and Earth scientist. (Ask him about seismic waves.) He’s based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

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