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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!