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A blog following the beekeepers at the University of Washington.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Wax Purification - This Year’s Plans

We have our sights set on concluding the work we began in 2012. Last year we came up with good sources of wax to test, built a solar wax melter, generated samples, ran some sample preparations, and found an analytical laboratory anxious to help. However, we were held up at the analysis stage, mostly by the cost. Our samples will take over $200.00 each to analyze. The tests cover a number of common contaminants and are precise to the parts-per-billion. This is the type of data we’d like to see, but we can not get around the cost.

Microryza to the rescue! This season’s round of crowd-funding will focus on getting the money to have our analyses done. We will also need to purchase some more hive parts, frames & foundation, more bees, and some pest management supplies, all routine beekeeping expenses. We have a detailed budget for anyone to examine.

Plans. We will generate a new series of samples from treatments similar to those used in 2012, being ultra-cautious not to cross-contaminate, and select 8 of them for analysis. Processing will be similar, running each sample through a carbon filtration system. However, we will probably not use the solar wax melter, as our solar days are so limited (it takes all day full sun to operate and that’s just not dependable in Seattle, even in summer.) This year, pending success with Microryza, we should have funds to proceed with analysis by the time we have the samples ready. Results should be available in the Fall.

The big IF. Success of this method (significantly reduced contamination of wax) is not guaranteed. However, if it works we will proceed to send our results to one of the major beekeeping journals for fast publication. Depending on tidiness our procedures and the quality of the results, we may even send to one of the peer-reviewed beekeeping science journals. What happens next is hard to guess. Beekeepers are a practical lot. If they can find a way to incorporate the procedure into their operations economically, we could see this become an important contribution to the new era of beekeeping. Many people and organizations would be to thank!

Stay tuned for updates! Contribute to our effort! Here’s our donor link:

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