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Rendering Your Beeswax

Beeswax is a valuable product of the beekeeping industry. A strong colony of honey bees will use about 13 pounds of honey per year for the production of beeswax.

Cappings, bits of comb scraped from the frames, and old combs which are unfit for further use in the hive are the sources of beeswax. The best grade of light yellow wax is obtained from the cappings and should be processed separately from the other wax. Twenty pounds of beeswax from cappings can be rendered from every ton of honey extracted.

Frames of honey should be uncapped over a drain board. The weight of the cappings is 50 percent or more honey. The drained cappings are ready to melt and pour into a mold. Break the pieces of comb or cappings into small pieces and soak these in warm water for a day to remove pollen and propolis. Drain the soaked pieces and place these in a weighted burlap bag. Submerge the bag in a tank of water and bring the water to a slow boil. Agitate the bag with a stick to cause the wax to float to the surface. Do not boil the water vigorously or for too long. Remove the bag, cool the water and remove the wax cake when it solidifies. Drain the wax thoroughly and store the cake.

Beeswax cakes for competition in the fair should be made from well-drained cappings of new white comb. The wax cappings should be melted in a water bath container over an electric heater. The melted wax should be strained through fine cloth to remove foreign material. When the wax begins to solidify on the surface, pour the wax into a mold. This reduces the cracks in the finished cake. The mold should be clean, dry and aluminum, nickel, tin or stainless steel. The mold should be carefully filled with a ladle and allowed to solidify completely before removing the cake. The bottom should be scraped to remove sediment.

Propolis lowers the melting point of beeswax and causes the beeswax to be sticky.

The beeswax can be traded in for new foundation. The market value fluctuates.

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