April 8 – Mind Your Own Beeswax

I have collected beeswax since I started beekeeping. Some of it I’ve already used in lip gloss and hand lotion, in my artwork or as seasoning for my cast iron pots (got that tip from my Father-in-law, Tom). Since I don’t have a lot of hives, I don’t have enough to make a large amount of anything, but I finally got enough to make a few candles. I’ve done a bit of research about how to melt down and purify wax from your beehives. This YouTube video gives you an idea how the process works.

Since a lot of what I harvested was brood comb from my dead-out hives, it is going to take a bit of doing to purify it enough for craft uses. unlike the white wax cappings removed from new honey combs in the extracting process, the old dark brood comb contains the dried cocoons of earlier generations of bee larvae. All that must be separated from the pure wax to be useful, but I had so much of it I decided it was worth the extra effort.

I melted the combs down in a big pot with water and skimmed off as much debris as I could, but there’s a lot of pollen and other stuff still in it. From the videos I’ve watched, it can take a few cycles of melting/cooling/trimming the debris off the bottom before the wax is ready for use. I think I’m going to order a 5 micron polyester mesh bag like they used in the video above so I can cut down on the number of steps it will take. But, for now, here’s some of the wax I got from the first melting:

IMG_2934

I’ll post the finished product after the next round or two of processing it.

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