Paraffin dipping wooden hive components is an excellent way to preserve the timber and is also a suitable way to sterilise them if they have been infected by AFB.
Hot dipped supers can be expected to last up to 10 years.
The key is to have the wax as hot as safely possible (150-160deg. C) so the wax penetrates the timber, and to leave the components in long enough to ensure they are heated right through. (Normally approximately 5 minutes)
Hot wax dipping is a dangerous process if safety precautions are not followed:
– do not let the wax overflow the tank
– wear protective clothing
– ensure timber is as dry as possible as wet timber will cause the wax to froth up and overflow the tank
– always use a temperature gauge to ensure the wax does not overheat.
– do not go over 180 deg. C as wax has a flashpoint of around 200 deg. C.
– never apply water to a wax fire!
It is also common practise to paint the boxes immediately after dipping while the timber is still hot; the paint is then sucked in to the hot timber as it cools. It is difficult to paint the boxes after they are cool as the paint does not stick readily to paraffin wax.
If a hive has been infected with AFB, supers can effectively be sterilised by paraffin wax dipping. In this case the timber must be immersed in the wax for a minimum of 10 minutes at a temperature of 150-160 deg. C.
See link to our Hiveworld Paraffin Dipping tank – http://hiveworld.co.nz/product/parraffin-wax-dipper/