After managing to melt all my wax down during the recent sunny spells I decided it was time to clean up the frames and boxes. In total there were around 150 frames and about 17 boxes, mainly supers and a few brood boxes. So wheeled out my boiling tank which seems to get used about once every 2 years. The tank was part of a group buy organised by one of the members of our local beekeeping association. It’s made of stainless steel and measures around 1m square. It’s got 2 holes for the immersion heating elements that heat the water and a drainage tap. It’s normally a 2 day exercise as filling the tank up with water and heating to 80C takes around 4 hours. So day one is the the main cleaning with washing soda and then on day 2 I rinse the frames with fresh hot water.
Filling it with water and heating it up takes most of the morning. Then I tip in around 6Kgs of washing soda and start to put the first set of items to be cleaned. In this case it was some dirty queen excluders and crown boards. After 10 minutes I fish them out and set to one side. Next it’s batches of frames, around 40 in total. I don’t bother to brake the frame down but put them in with the bottom and wedge bars still in place. After around 30 minutes it’s then a case of using a wire brush to remove the more stubborn propolis and make sure the side bars grooves are free of debris.
The cleaning part on day 1 takes around 2 hours and the rinsing on day 2 around 1.5 hours in total. The frames do come up looking very clean and it certainly beats trying to scrape them one at a time. The boxes are just scraped clean and then blow torched to sterilise them.