Adventures in Beekeeping, Part 3: Processing Beeswax At Home

I came out of our Beekeeping Adventure, Part 1 with a good bit of honey comb.  I just had to decide what to do with it all!  I decided I would melt it down and get it to brick form (like I’d seen for sale at The Bee House where I bought my supplies).  I figured after that point, I could take a breather and figure out what to do next.

The first step of all this was melting down the honey comb and squished wax.  We did manage to squeeze a tiny bit of honey out of some of it, but nothing worth sharing, literally or metaphorically on the blog. :/  Basically we just squeezed it through a flour sack towel and were left with this:

Fresh Beeswax | Oysters & Pearls

The melting process was a pretty messy process.  After doing some research on the world wide webs, I filled a pot halfway up with water and the honey comb and put it over medium heat.

Melting Honey Comb for Wax in Hot Water | Oysters & Pearls

As the water warmed, little yellow blobs of beeswax started appearing, as you can tell by the spots that look like corn kernels.

After everything had melted down, I strained it once through a fine mesh strainer.

Slag from Melting Down Beeswax | Oysters & Pearls

Apparently, this is called Slag.  Or something of the sort.  I read that it makes for an excellent fire starter, and works really well in a smoker.  So I saved it.  Naturally.  Because I’m an equal opportunity hoarder of all the things.

After straining, you’re left with this pot of brown liquid, and you can sort of tell where the water stops and the wax layer, albeit melted wax, is floating on top.

Melted Beeswax in Water | Oysters & Pearls

Then, I let it cool.  All night.  The next morning, I woke up to this!

Natural Beeswax | Oysters & Pearls

That is a solid disc of wax floating on top of what I read is called “honey water.”  I popped the disc of wax off and transferred it to another pot to melt it down.  I read that you can drink the honey water, and although it smelled Heavenly, it looked… Well, let’s just say it looked a far cry from Heavenly.  So for once in my life, I threw something out.

Solid Natural Beeswax | Oysters & Pearls

I melted down the solid disc of wax until it was completely liquid.

Melted Beeswax | Oysters & Pearls

Then I strained it through a fine mesh strainer (again), lined with 4 layers of cheese cloth this time.  I strained it directly into an old aluminum cake pan, which served as my “mold.”  I guess the pros have real molds that make cute little beeswax cakes.  Maybe when Oysters & Pearls Apiary really gets going…

Strained Beeswax in an Aluminum Cake Pan Mold | Oysters & Pearls

I let that cool all day while I was at work.  Then when I got home, I popped it right out – the edges will pull away from the pan a little bit as it cools.

Natural Beeswax from a Wild Honey Bee Hive | Oysters & Pearls

It’s crazy to me that it’s so bright and clean after such a simple processing.  It also seems to form pretty neat patterns as it cools, which you can sort of see.

Beeswax from a Wild Honey Bee Hive | Oysters & Pearls

Anyway, now your beeswax is ready to be used for whatever your heart desires.  In case you’re not sure what exactly your heart desires, I’ll be back with “What To Do With Beeswax, Part 1”, before ya know it.

Until Next Time

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