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How to Extract Wax From Your Beehive

When you extract honey, the cappings that you slice off represent your major wax harvest for the year. You’ll probably get one or two pounds of wax for every 100 pounds of honey that you harvest. This wax can be cleaned and melted down for all kinds of uses. Pound for pound, wax is worth more than honey, so it’s definitely worth a bit of effort to reclaim this prize. Here are some guidelines:

  1. Allow gravity to drain as much honey from the cappings as possible.

    Let the cappings drain for a few days. Using a double uncapping tank greatly simplifies this process.

  2. Place the drained cappings in a five-gallon plastic pail and top them off with warm (not hot) water.

    Using a paddle or your hands slosh the cappings around in the water to wash off any remaining honey. Drain the cappings through a colander or a honey strainer and repeat this washing process until the water runs clear.

  3. Place the washed cappings in a double boiler and melt the wax.

    Always use a double boiler for melting beeswax (never melt beeswax directly on an open flame, because it is highly flammable). And never, ever leave the melting wax, even for a moment. If you need to go to the bathroom, turn off the stove!

  4. Strain the melted beeswax through a couple of layers of cheesecloth to remove any debris.

    Remelt and restrain as necessary to remove all impurities from the wax.

  5. The rendered wax can be poured into a block mold for later use.

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