When keeping bees, it pays to check on the hives to see how they are going.
Timing is important for harvesting honey and beeswax; and any other products from the hive (eg. propalis).
When you see that the frames are about 3/4 capped it is time to extract. Fresh honey contains a considerable amount of water, and when extracted green it may ferment. When you are out near your hives at night and you can hear humming, don't worry, the bees are curing the honey (evaporating excess moisture from the nectar).
Make sure that you are wearing your protective suit, correct gloves, and have your tools handy:
There are many ways to remove the bees from the honey supers ranging from blowers to chemical mats. Providing you have a queen excluder, robbing is a simple matter. Put a little smoke over the top box and take each tray out one at a time. Give each frame one or two sharp downward shakes to dislodge most of the bees and then a quick brush with a bee brush will remove the rest. Don't leave your hive without a honey super for long otherwise the bees will start to fill the brood chamber with honey.
When bees collect pollen and nectar from flowers and bring it back to the hive – some of it is converted into honey but the rest is converted into beeswax. Bees build their combs from beeswax so they need it in order to survive.
Once you see white cappings in the hive covering the hexagonal shaped cells, it means that the honey is ready for extraction. It is the cappings which are situated on both sides of the cells that make up the beeswax.
The cappings are removed from both sides of the cells and set aside to max wax blocks and the honey is then readily extracted from the cells.
Bees wax is great for making:
Combs may be rendered into wax blocks – newer combs produce the best quality wax. Older combs contain propolis and also waste residue such as old cocoons – this makes it a less desirable wax.
Interesting fact: Bees’ wax has a high melting point when compared to other types of wax 64 degrees C.
Most methods of rendering wax use hot water to melt it. They are based on the fact that beeswax floats in water. A few words of caution are in order, however:
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