Honeybees, like most insects, communicate through smell. They are attracted to the smell of beeswax. My profession is to rescue and relocate honeybees that have taken up residence inside walls, attics and chimneys. New bees should be discouraged to return by removing all beeswax residue so I recommend scraping down to bare wood and then encapsulating with oil based spray paint. The scraping process is laborious, time consuming and inferior since wood is soft and porous. It would be ideal if a chemical could be applied that would actually dissolve the beeswax without harming the structure. Occasionally bees build over electrical wire and galvanized hurricane ties with hundreds of 8 mm dimples making cleaning very difficult. Heat and a wire brush may work but I sense that heating beeswax only makes the oil spread out. Remember this is on the underside of studs, etc so letting solvent sit to dissolve will not work unless in gel form. Any chemist have suggestions?


Esters are good for dissolving wax, but use a long carbon chain that is not flammable. Isopropyl myristate is sold online to people that want to make their own cosmetics. It is relatively cheap. It will leave an oil film that can be removed with liquid detergent in warm water.

For thick wax, warm with a blow dryer and scrape with a plastic spatula. Then try above.

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    $\begingroup$ Regarding the above link on candle wax: xylene and toluene are dangerous volatile chemicals - not recommended. Volatile petroleum products may be problematic depending on the volume used and if you are in a confined space. I recommended isopropyl myristate because it is safe on skin and far from volatile - vapor presssure of 9.35e-05 mmHg $\endgroup$ – Luquettm Apr 2 '19 at 19:09

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