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From Cappings to Candles: Processing Beeswax

Your honey is extracted and your bees are ready for winter. Now it's time to settle into fall and cozy up with some candlelight. There are just a few steps between you and your first beeswax candles and this series will lead you through the process, one simple step at a time.

Step 1: Turn that sticky pile of cappings into golden yellow beeswax!

Want to be ready before you watch? Here's what you'll need:

  1. DRY cappings wax (see below if you are not sure how to dry your cappings).

  2. A dedicated wax pot. This can be as big as a stock pot or as small as a mason jar depending on the amount of wax you have. If you are buying, do yourself the favour of considering how much wax you might have in 3-5 years so that you don't have to size up every year.

  3. A heat source that can be turned to LOW. I highly recommend spending $20 on a hot plate to avoid the potential disaster of spilling wax on your kitchen stove.

  4. A plastic pail or bucket. Yogurt or ice cream pails work well for smaller quantities.

  5. A filter that will fit over the top of your pail. I like to cut up old clothing as it is cheaper than cheesecloth.

  6. Clothespins, clamps, or elastics to hold the filter onto the rim of the pail.

How do I dry my cappings?

There are many ways to get the honey out of your cappings. My personal favourite is to use whisky to dissolve the honey off the cappings, leaving you with a delicious honey whiskey.

If you've got more cappings than you need whiskey, you can also have the bees clean the honey out. Some people do this in the open, but a safer option is to do it inside the hive (spread the cappings out over your top board and open the hole so that the bees can access that space).

If you have a lot of hives or plan to build up to a lot of hives, you may opt to invest in a cappings spinner. We get about 20% more honey by spinning out our cappings!

Tried it and need to brag about it? Make sure you let us know in the HIVE Facebook group!


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