Are you saving your beeswax?
When you are inspecting your hive, you will find that the bees fill every space with wax; this is not always a good thing because it can make it difficult for us to get the frames out carefully. You should scrap off any extra wax build up. But what do you do with it? Everything in the hive is usable. There are lots for uses for beeswax; here are some of my favorites: candles, salves, lip balms, furniture polish, and waterproofing. These are just a few and there are so many more.
Now, you probably are wondering how do I get my wax to go from what I am collecting from the hive to that golden yellow color that we always see, well it takes some investigation to find out what will work out best for you to render your wax to that state. I have figured out that anything to do with bees is very sticky. Through this, I have made lots of messes in my kitchen and learned that for me I prefer to let the sun do my work for me. I made a solar wax melter out of an old Styrofoam cooler, aluminum foil and an old window. Here are the instructions I used for this and I did not even need Alan’s help to do it. https://boobeehoney.com/2014/05/06/diy-solar-wax-melter/ Now that we have thirty hives, this little melter was not enough and Alan actually made me a different one out of wood and I have three 9x13 pyrex dishes in there so that I can take full advantage of the sunny days we have in Washington.
If this sounds a little too much for your one or two hives, here is a guide to rendering wax in the kitchen like a double boiler set up: https://snapguide.com/guides/clean-and-render-beeswax/ .
I thought I would share one of my favorite recipes it is a base salve that you can add any essential oils to.
- 4 – 4 ounce glass jam jars
- 1 qt. mason jar for melting
- 1 cup organic cold pressed coconut oil
- 1 cup quality organic olive oil
- 4 T. organic beeswax (in small pieces or grated)
- 1 t. vitamin e oil (optional)
Add the coconut oil, olive oil and beeswax to 1 quart mason jar. Fill a large saucepan halfway with warm water, set your burner to low to medium heat, slowly melt the ingredients in the warm bath, stirring with a knife every few minutes until melted.
While melting and stirring, line up four 4 oz glass jam jars. To each 4 oz jar ~ add the essential oils and vitamin e oil.
Now you’re ready to fill each jar with the hot oils and beeswax. Carefully fill each jar to within a half inch from the rim. Let the jars cool until the salve hardens, top with a paper towel while cooling to keep dust, bugs etc from invading your lovely jars of salve! Secure lids tightly after the salve has hardened. This salve has approximately a one year shelf life, depending on humidity, heat etc. Note: the consistency of salve will set up soft but solid enough not to splash around in the jar.
Hope you are enjoying your adventure in beekeeping. Remember everything from the hive is usable. Look into what else you can do with your wax.