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Processed and Clean Beeswax - Nate Loper

How to Process and Clean Beeswax

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Old beeswax in tray to be cleaned - Nate Loper

Old beeswax in tray to be cleaned.

There’s no doubt beeswax is an amazing resource with a wide variety of applications.   Discoveries in archaeology show us beeswax has been collected and used by cultures for thousands of years.  Even the ancient Egyptians used it as part of their haircare, creating cones of beeswax scented with perfumes and aromatics that would melt down over their hair (often a wig).  Nowadays, we typically use beeswax quite differently.  It’s used for things like lip balms, candles, waterproofing, conditioning, and more.  Even though we might have found additional uses for it today, the process of cleaning beeswax is actually quite similar to what we’ve found in archaeology — heat, water, and a filter.

As a beekeeper, there are a few different methods you can use to help clean and process even old comb into usable wax.  One of my favorite methods is cheap, simple, and involves aluminum double roasting pans.  At nearly any grocery store you can obtain all you need for this process.  Grab a couple roasting pans, one deep, one shallow.  Make sure the shallow one is large enough to fit on top of the large one, with space in between.   I think I found ones that were the same length and width, but one that was half as deep.

Processed and Clean Beeswax - Nate Loper

Processed and Clean Beeswax.

Take your shallower roasting pan and punch holes all in the bottom of it, from the inside out.  Next, take your large roasting pan and fill it with water 2-3 inches deep.  Place the smaller, perforated pan nested into the larger one.  Place a single layer of paper towels on the inside of the shallow pan.

Now, place whatever beeswax, comb, or cappings you have into the shallow pan and place the whole thing in your oven.  The melting point of beeswax is about 150 degrees Fahrenheit, so I usually set mine to 200 degrees.  The flashpoint for beeswax is around 490 degrees.  Definitely don’t heat it too high, or it might not be safe and any impurities in the wax are likely to start “cooking” and make your wax smell bad.

Beeswax with scum in it - Nate Loper

Beeswax with scum in it from stiring it up while setting.

Check on your beeswax periodically until it’s all melted down through the top pan.  The paper towels act as a filter and catch much of the dirt and impurities.  After it’s all melted down, turn off the oven and let it cool, ideally overnight.  Don’t take the pan out or stir up the water and wax in the bottom pan.  If you stir it up too much, the scum will mix with the wax and cool together.

If you leave it to set, the beeswax will float atop the water bath, with a layer of “scum” on the bottom of it.  This scum can be scraped off with a knife, leaving you with a nearly-pure cake of clean beeswax to either further refine by repeating the process, or use right away.

There you have it!  An easy way to process and refine your own beeswax for use.  Now get out there and make something with it 🙂

Nate Loper

Save the Bees Kids Flagstaff Honey

What are “rescued” bees?

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“What does rescued bees mean?” 

This is the most commonly asked question we get at places like the Flagstaff Farmer’s Market when we have our booth set up.  The market is a great way to connect with folks in order to share about what we do, and a great venue where we can sell our honey, soaps, lips balm, and more. 

Save the Bees KidsPart of our display is a sign that says: “Honey From Rescued Bees”.  That ALWAYS seems to draw a lot of attention and questions.

You see, unlike most big commercial beekeeping operations that buy their bees from locations across the nation and have them shipped in to replenish their constantly dying hives, all of our bees come locally from honey bee colonies we’ve rescued

Just what does that mean?  Well, whenever folks have a bee problem like a swarm of bees or an established honey bee colony at their house or place of business rather than simply calling the exterminator they give us a call!  We come out to their location to safely remove, rescue, and re-home those bees.  We place the rescued bees into hive boxes so they can continue pollinating for the community and make delicious honey and useful beeswax.

100% of the bees we keep are from rescue operations just like this.  That’s the reason we started this company…to save the bees.  Around the world, bees are in major decline.  Many folks talk about the need to save honey bees, we actually do it!  The sales from our honey, natural lip balms, handcrafted soap, and other products directly support our bee removal and rescue here in Flagstaff and throughout Northern Arizona.

Your purchase and support goes directly to helping save the bees and make the world a sweeter place…one jar at a time!

Honey From Rescued Bees Sign



What do bees do during the winter?

What do bees do during the winter?

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What do bees do during the winter?Spring is nearly here!  Although we just had a pretty good snowstorm here in Flagstaff which dropped 16 inches of new powder, the days just afterward have been nice and sunny.  Already we’ve heard birds starting to be more active and visit our backyard feeders.  Getting really excited for the warm season around here!

After the long sleep of winter, it’s great to get out and about and explore the world around.  That’s the same thing our Flagstaff honey bees will be doing soon!  So, what do bees do during the winter? Unlike most of the Arizona honey bees further south that can stay active year-round, ours tend to “hibernate” and hang out in their hive through the cold of winter.  During that time they will continue to stay alive by feeding on their stored honey.

What do bees do during the winter?To keep warm they ball together as a group and collectively vibrate their tiny little bee bodies to produce warmth, slowing moving in and out in a spiral-like fashion around the queen to keep her warm.  Penguins often do a similar thing in the Antarctic, rotating in and out of the central warmth.  Pretty clever, eh?

What do bees do during the winter?People often ask if our bees do well through the winter.  And the answer is a resounding YES!  As long as beekeepers aren’t selfish by taking all the honey stores, but leave the bees their fair share of honey to live on, they’ll be just fine.  Maybe the colder winter temps up here are what have helped keep much of the Africanized bees from moving in.  We certainly see far fewer than fellow beekeepers do in the south side of the state.  Sounds like a good research project…

Enjoy the warming weather!

Local Bee Pollen Flagstaff, Arizona

Bee Pollen now available!

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Bee pollen blend, with pollen from our hives right here in Flagstaff and Northern Arizona!

Local Bee Pollen Royal Kenyon BeeWorksIt’s allergy season and we’ve had LOTS of requests from people looking for bee pollen to help with their allergies.  We’ve even had calls from people looking for pollen for their pets after visiting their vet and receiving a recommendation to try it to help their furry loved ones.

Our bee pollen was collected as our little friends brought it back to the hives, and then naturally dried to preserve its freshness and longevity.  This pollen will last much longer than the kind you have to keep in the fridge or freezer which spoils quickly. Our wildflower bee pollen is a blend from our own Flagstaff rescued bees and other trusted beekeepers we work with, for maximum floral variety and nutritional benefit.

Local Bee Pollen

Bee Pollen Granules

Studies, as well as numerous testimonies, have suggested there are amazing benefits to eating bee pollen.  It is considered one of the most effective superfoods, packed with vitamins, minerals, and natural enzymes.  It’s also thought to be a great help for many people suffering from seasonal allergies.

Bee pollen is slightly sweet, as the bees naturally mix it with nectar into little balls to carry it in their back leg “bee baskets”.  It goes great with MANY different foods, including tea, ice cream, breakfast cereal, oatmeal, honey, peanut butter, and more!




Flagstaff Honey Bees Royal Kenyon BeeWorks

When it feels like Spring: False start for hibernating bees

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False Start for Hibernating Bees…Flagstaff Honey Bees Royal Kenyon BeeWorks

Would you believe it’s mid-February around here in Flagstaff?  Having spent the past few days outside I wouldn’t.  The problem is that neither do the hibernating bees.

We’ve been having record-breaking highs for this time of year and it’s truly been out of the norm.  It seems the large El Nino effect for 2015 and 2016 that they’ve said should produce LOTS of snow has simply vanished.  Instead of being buried in snow, currently, we’re wrapped in a warm sunshine blanket.  Now don’t think that I’m complaining!  It’s really quite lovely.  Just last week Hattie and I took the kids to the park for a couple hours and soaked up the sun.  It may FEEL like spring…but it’s not.  That may become a problem for our bees.

Every day for the past week or so our bees have been pretty active—flying in and out of the hive like it’s springtime, looking for nectar and pollen.  Problem is that it’s not springtime.  And there is no nectar or pollen.  So what do we end up with?  Just a bunch of hungry bees buzzing about, expending precious energy in a vain pursuit of a false start to Spring.  Instead of balling up close and conserving energy, bees have begun to strike out in search of resources for the hive, but coming back empty-handed like the first dove sent out by Noah in search of signs of life.Hibernating Bees We do out very best to rescue and re-home our native bees. They provide a huge service to us, and we're more than happy to give them a good honey home!

All this activity has not gone unnoticed.  This might help explain why we’ve already gotten multiple calls this week from people looking for Northern Arizona bee removal.  We’re happy to oblige.  I’m glad they call us first, instead of a local Flagstaff bee exterminator to kill the bees.  We do our very best to rescue and re-home our native Arizona bees.  They provide a huge service to us, and we’re more than happy to give them a good honey home!  If you have problem bees right now, or throughout the season let us know and we’ll come to the rescue.

Arizona Bee Rescue

As much as I love this nice warm weather, I do hope for a bit (or a bunch) more snow.  We can certainly use it around here, and it just might help keep all the hibernating bees a little more tucked into their homes, dreaming of the REAL Spring and its abundant flow of nectar, pollen, and wonderful fresh smells!  Sweet dreams bees…

dead bees on snow

When dead bees are a welcome sight!

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Dead bees a welcome sight?

Yeah, you heard me right.  Now let me explain…

dead bees on frameUsually seeing dead bees is a terrible thing to behold for a beekeeper.  A good deal of sadness whelms up when opening up a box and finding the colony dead or having absconded.  It’s like losing a friend…or 30,000 of them.  But yesterday it brought me a glimmer of hope and resulted in a very positive confirmation. Why in the world would that be?

It’s winter up here in Flagstaff. And that means snow. And more snow. And then it snows again.  Welcome to life in the mountains, my friends. This potentially creates a problem for both bees and beekeepers alike.  When winter sets in there’s a very real chance that some hives may not make it through the long cold.  Bees have been given a great deal of intelligence and can often survive in most cold environments for a period of time.  But extreme cold or extreme length of winter can spell doom for our little friends.

Bees do have a coping mechanism, however.  Much like antarctic penguins, the bees will ball up in cold times, and will rotate from outside to inside in a slow spiral dance, while vibrating their bodies to produce heat and keep the bee-ball warm.  Of course, right in the middle of this dance is the main lady of the royal ball…the queen.  They rotate around her, ensuring she is kept warm, while other bees take turns pulling food stores from the comb to bring back to feed her and other bees.  They can keep this up as long as they have the energy received from food supplies in the hive, or as long as it doesn’t get too cold to keep things warm.  That was my fear recently.

You see, we recently had some VERY cold temperatures.  When I was out in Parks last week I recorded -24F degrees.  That was the coldest I’ve ever seen in my life!  And that is a potential danger for losing a hive.  Even for local native bees here in Flagstaff.  But what a difference a week can make!  Just one week later we went from near-record cold to near-record high temps for this time of year.  Nearly 60 degrees and sunny yesterday all around the region!

dead bees on snowAfter spending the day at the Grand Canyon I decided to check in on our Parks pollination colony on the way back to see how things were.  Since it was so warm I knew a quick curious peek wouldn’t harm them and chill the hive.  As I tromped through the snow and approached the hive I noticed it…DEAD BEES ON THE SNOW!  Now, most would be saddened by this, but I was glad.  Why?  Because dead bees can’t fly themselves out of a hive and onto the ground.  What the dead bees outside the hive meant was that the colony was probably pretty strong and had been “cleaning house”.  Yes, throughout the winter bees will die in the hive, and they will drop to the bottom of the box awaiting the undertaker.  When the weather warms up other worker bees go about cleaning up the place.  They will carry dead bees out of the hive and drop them on the ground.  They will also use the time to fly out of the hive and use the bathroom outside.  They’re pretty clean that way.

As I walked up to the hive I saw a lone bee flying back and forth to the entrance and back out again and I knew there was hope.  So I popped open the top lid, and what did I see?  Bees packing the entire box and all the way up to the top frames of a double deep stack of boxes.  Not a few bees.  Not sick, lethargic bees.  But LOTS of bees, moving all around the frames just how I left them in the Fall!  I must say I was surprised, to say the least.  Having not checked in on them since October and having multiple nights of subzero temperatures I was sure they had frozen to death or had eaten all their honey stores in futility while trying to generate heat to stay warm.  But there they were, a golden moving carpet on every frame, as healthy as a bee can be.

Nate setting up the Community Garden hive in Parks

Setting up the Community Garden hive in Parks

So, to you who are new beekeepers. Don’t fear should you see a few dead bees outside the hive during winter, especially after the reprieve of a warm sunny day.  Should you see a pile of dead bees, rest assured that the undertaker is well at work, the workers peppering the ground have now crossed the river Styx, and your bees are probably alive and buzzing about on the inside just awaiting the new spring blooms and sweet nectar once again!

Valentine's Day

Valentine’s Day!

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Flagstaff Honey Love Valentine's DayValentine’s Day Gifts!

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner! Get YOUR HONEY something special this year. Wildflower honey, soaps, lip balms, candles, and more. All made with the help of our native Flagstaff bees. We even have gift baskets too, all available for delivery here in town!

Use promo code “HoneyBeeMine” and receive 10% off your order from now until ‪#‎Valentines‬



Flagstaff Honey Love Valentine's Day



Different honey varieties. What’s behind it?

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Different Honey Varieties Flagstaff

9_beesWhy are there different honey varieties?  What determines the taste of a particular honey? While out collecting pollen and nectar from various flowers the worker bee will travel around a 3-mile radius from the hive.  That’s a lot of work!  Each tiny sip comes from whatever plant is flowering at the moment and she decides to land on.  The flowers will change throughout the season, giving subtle variation to color, taste, and even viscosity.

That’s one of the really fun things about our Flagstaff wildflower honey, the different honey varieties and variation in taste is a direct reflection of what’s growing right here in Northern Arizona!  Sometimes honey will even vary from one side of Flagstaff to the other.  For example, we have a hive 20 minutes west of Flagstaff in a little area called Parks.  When we pulled honey from that (very productive) hive this summer the honey was very light in color and in taste.  People told us it was their favorite honey ever!

Flagstaff Arizona Bee Sunflower PollenSo what was the secret?  Nothing we’ve done.  It’s nature, plain and simple.  In that particular area, there were huge fields of Prairie Sunflowers growing.  Could that have been the main source of the bee’s nectar they were turning into honey?  Perhaps.  This may have been the dominant nectar source for the Flagstaff wildflower honey that we pulled from this hive.  I suspect it was because we also collected some extra honey from a bee removal in Bellemont nearby that was surrounded by these flowers and tasted very similar.

When you see different honey varieties there really is a lot to it!  Honey that’s labeled “Clover Honey”, “Orange Honey”, “Buckwheat Honey”, or even “Mesquite Honey” means those are the dominant flowers the bees are foraging on.  Typically hives are placed in orchards or areas where those flowers are in abundance, so those flowers are what is used by the bees to create honey.

Honey made from these various sources each have different tastes, colors, flow, and even sugar content.  Clover honey tends to be somewhat light in color and taste, while some varieties like Buckwheat honey is very dark and thick, with a taste somewhat similar to molasses.  It is considered to be the highest in antioxidants and minerals of all honey produced in the US.  In contrast, Catclaw honey is VERY light and sweet and tends to be a favorite of tea drinkers as it sweetens without adding too much honey flavor or bitterness.

Different Honey Varieties

Like different coffee roasts, various honey lovers have their own favorites.  We encourage you to get out there and try it!  Visit your local farmers market where you can often sample various honey from the area and find your favorite!  Whatever you do, don’t buy the cheap grocery store “honey”.  The truth is it’s probably not even real honey and certainly doesn’t taste anywhere near the same!

Flagstaff Honey delivery serviceOur honey is produced right here in the beautiful Northern Arizona mountains of Flagstaff and we think it’s the bee’s knees!  We have easy online ordering and hand-deliver all our honey right to your doorstep. We even have a Hive2Home monthly delivery service to bring you our wildflower honey blend on a regular basis. It’s a popular movement with many people who have tried our honey here in Flagstaff.

Try it.  We guarantee you’ll like it!


Flagstaff Arizona Raw organic honey


FREE Flagstaff Delivery this month!

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Thanks and Giving


We’ve recently had such great feedback and support from people who have received our Flagstaff honey and other items!  As our way of saying thanks, we’re offering FREE local delivery from now until the end of the month!

Honey Banner 5

Simply place your next Flagstaff Hand-Delivered order and use the code “flagfree” to get free delivery!


Musical Bees!

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Did you know that bees make music?  Perfect pitch, rhythm, and everything.  It’s true, and simply fascinating!

One way they do specifically is called “piping”.  Piping describes a noise made by virgin and mated queen bees during certain times of the virgin queens’ development. Fully developed virgin queens communicate through vibratory signals: “quacking” from virgin queens in their queen cells and “tooting” from queens free in the colony, collectively known as piping. A virgin queen may frequently pipe before she emerges from her cell and for a brief time afterward. Mated queens may briefly pipe after being released in a hive.

Piping is most common when there is more than one queen in a hive. It is postulated that the piping is a form of battle cry announcing to competing queens and the workers their willingness to fight. It may also be a signal to the worker bees which queen is the most worthwhile to support.

The piping sound is a G (aka A). The adult queen pipes for a two-second pulse followed by a series of quarter-second toots. The queens of Africanized bees produce more vigorous and frequent bouts of piping.  Pretty amazing isn’t it?

In another segment, I’ll write about how and why bumblebees often produce a perfect “Middle C” note and what it’s used for.

Click here for a video of what this sounds like when a queen bee is piping!