Beeswax from West Rise School Apiary

Our plan following the last visit was to bring the redundant hive back and melt down the beeswax before the wax moths got to it. As the apiary is some distance from the car park, we used the quad bike to bring it back.

Some of the combs still had pollen in the cells and this can make the melted beeswax crumbly, so I just used the clean frames of comb for beeswax. As we are wanting some of the combs to be used for a display, I took some of the best examples and they are now in my freezer to kill off any wax moth eggs. I also took some photos of the frames for future use:

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Drone cells (below) and worker cells (above)
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Pollen packed in to the cells
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Queen cell

There had been a queen excluder on the hive so the super had no brood, so I processed this first. The way I render beeswax is to cut out the combs and put them in a saucepan with rainwater and gently heat it until it’s all melted. Then, once it’s been strained, the wax rises to the top of the water and cools in to a disc.

If the combs have had brood, there are pupal cases in the cells which take up a lot of space in the saucepan. They are removed when the wax is poured through the sieve but it always amazes me just how many are there:

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The wax has now cooled and can be remelted to be formed in to bars, or used as it is, cut in to chunks. Wax is a precious resource and I will be interested to see what we can make with this small harvest. Salves and balm are always popular!

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