Joe Waggle’s Crayon

Pondering trapping swarms and swarm boxes, I remember a neat idea Joe Waggle once proposed.

He incorporated lemon grass essential oil into melted beeswax. And then poured it into a suitable mold. Let it harden. And had a ready source of swarm box attractant.

Rubbing it in, on and around a swarm box, increased a swarm box’s attractiveness.

A beeswax crayon isn’t as fragile or as volatile as a bottle of essential oil. And the beeswax acts as slow release agent. It can be applied on surfaces that essential oils can’t.

I suspect that something larger than a crayon sized mold would be more practical, unless it’s one of those large chalk crayons. 🙂 But any mold shape will do. As long as it produces a crayon that’s sturdy enough to resist some pressure and abuse. Yet, one that’s easy to handle.

A small piece of rope or cordage can be looped and incorporated into the wax for easy handling. I’ve seen gift bars of soap like that. A loop might be especially useful when getting to a swarm box that requires climbing up a tree or ladder.

Other ingredients might work in Joe’s crayon as well. This concept might extend the usefulness of commercial pheromones. Maybe even the Lusby’s queen alcohol extract could be used.

Like Crayola makes crayons of different colors, it’s certainly easy to make different smelling Waggle crayons and find out what works best.

-bW

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9 Responses

  1. Rod Lawrence says:

    Excellent idea! Tried the LGO on a q-tip last yr and it seemed to evaporate too quickly.

  2. Trygve Lillefosse says:

    I am thinking of trying this out. Any idea about how much lemon grass oil to use?

    Also wondering if the lemon grass oil be just as fine in melted wax, or if it will fume off due to the heat.

    • -bW says:

      Hi Trygve

      Quantities? I haven’t a clue. More is probably better until it affects the hardness of the beeswax. Bees are sensitive creatures and I just don’t know if too much would be repulsive to them. It’s interesting to note that the bee pheromones bees use to target a sting victim, make an excellent bee repellent at higher concentrations.

      Application rate and time are also factors. I suspect it would be difficult to overpower a swarm box, for long, using Joe’s crayon.

      Heat? I haven’t done much experimenting here either. Cooler wax is probably better than hotter wax. I suspect much would depend upon the kind of solvent/carrier used. Alcohol is commonly used, as is glycerin.

      Beeswax can contain lots of heat energy when melted. I always like to work off the cool end. Here’s how I do it. Melt your wax. Let it cool until it begins to solidify around the edges or forms a thin skin on top. Then quickly add your essential oil/pheromone.

      -bW

      • Trygve Lillefosse says:

        Thanks for your reply. Think I will try melting the wax and let it almost solidify, and then mix in some alcohol.

        The alcohol should make the wax softer, so that i can let it cool down even more before adding the lemon grass oil. The alcohol will probably help in distributing the oil evenly into the wax.

        Guess zip-lock bags in a cool and dark place will be the best option for storage.

        BTW: These crayons might be nice for making starter -strips on top-bars.

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