The bees make beeswax as the building blocks of their home. They use it to make honeycomb and each comb is made up of hexagonal cells. These cells are used to raise their young and house stores of pollen and honey. When we visit the apiary and make our inspections we scrape away any brace comb and burr wax and save it to clean and refine at a later date. During our early spring inspections, we also replace some of the frames and combs to take away any damaged or old comb from the hives.
When we extract Honey we also collect the wax cappings. These are the best quality wax as it is usually the cleanest and freshest.
If the wax is from old brood frames it is firstly melted using our wax steamer. As the wax melts and pours from the steamer it is filtered through muslin to remove the largest pieces of floating debris, such as body parts and cocoons from the brood nest.
This wax is them melted in a warming cabinet through a filter to remove more of the debris.
If we have relatively clean wax, say from the cappings, the wax may just be melted in the warming cabinet. Any honey will settle in the base of the collection bowl and the wax will rise to the top. Once set the honey can be scraped from the wax and used as bakers’ honey (not for sale) as it has been heated.
To render beeswax clean enough to make candles and cosmetics the wax may need to be melted and filtered two or three times to remove all the contaminants and reveal the best and beautiful colour wax.
As beekeepers, we like to reuse and salvage as much useful material as possible and this time we yielded approximately 12kilos of wax.
November 12, 2020