One of the perks of keeping honeybees is that you also have the option of harvesting honeycomb. It’s a rewarding, messy process! The comb must be collected, melted, filtered and poured into molds. This simple tutorial will teach you how to prepare beeswax for home use!
There’s a variety of ways to go about harvesting wax from your bees. For simplicity’s sake, this tutorial will only address collecting honeycomb after you’ve extracted honey.
Proper Timing Is Important
When collecting wax from your bees, proper timing is important. Your hive will have to rebuild the honeycomb structure and this process can set them back. If you’ve never harvested wax before, I recommend talking with a local beekeeper about the proper timing for your area.
Information gained, you can then proceed to harvest with confidence.
Collecting Wax from the Foundations
After your honey has been extracted, take a metal kitchen spatula and scrape the wax from your frame’s foundation. Be sure to use a scraper that has right-angle corners, like this one!
Be sure to save the burr comb as well. The little bits add up! Place the collect comb in a bucket. And don’t worry if debris or even bee parts appear in the waxy mess; it’s all going to be filtered!
When you’re done collecting, its time to learn how to prepare beeswax for home use!
How to Prepare Beeswax for Home Use
Place the honeycomb in a crock pot. We use a 7 quart and have a second insert specifically designated for this purpose.
Add 1 C of water to the crock. This will keep wax from sticking to the walls when pouring time comes!
Set your crock pot to the ‘keep warm’ setting and add a lid. In 2 hour’s time, your wax will be hot liquid.
Filter the Melted Wax
Before pouring your liquid wax into molds, it should be filtered. Always keep a tray or baking sheet underneath the action. If spilled, wax is incredibly difficult to clean from both countertops and flooring!
Take a small tin bowl (yes, tin; glass may crack) and fasten a porous cloth or paper towel around it’s mouth.
Using oven mitts, carefully lift the crock and slowly pour hot wax into the tin bowl. The cloth will catch bits of debris as the liquid wax slips between the fibers of the cloth.
Be careful you don’t overfill the bowl, or it will dribble when you attempt to fill your molds.
Pouring Wax Into Molds
Remove the filtering cloth and be sure to place it on the baking pan and not your countertop!
Set your molds on a tray. I use these silicone ones for a number of things in my home. When filled, each heart holds 1.55 oz (45 gm) of hardened beeswax.
Plastic soap molds will also do the trick!
Once poured, leave the wax to harden in a safe, undisturbed place. Give it 3 hours before attempting to remove from the mold/s.
What About the 1 C of Water?
When you pour your wax into molds, the 1 C of water will go with it. Wax always floats to the surface! Once it has hardened, you’ll be able to lift it off the water.
Allow wet wax to dry before storing away.
Storing the Finished Product
The finished product should be stored in a dry, mouse proof place. Beeswax always contains a hint of honey and will draw critters in, so be careful! I usually store mine in a lidded rubbermaid container.
Your clean wax can now be used for candle making, in homemade soaps, natural skin care products and as a lubricant that will prevent your old wooden drawers from sticking in place!
However you choose to use it, you won’t regret learning how to prepare beeswax for home use!