Smart beekeepers save the beeswax that accumulates as the cappings are cut off the comb to extract honey – it can be rendered into wax for making lip balms, soaps, candles, and many other useful products. Rendering the beeswax is a fairly simple process, but it should be done carefully as beeswax is very flammable (it should NEVER be rendered over an open flame). Wax vapors from overheated wax can also explode if exposed to an open flame, so use an electric heat source, not gas and not flame.
It’s safest to do it outside and we have a double burner hot plate that works well; however, since it’s blustery winter outside, we chose to use the oven for this batch. We poured about an inch thick layer of water into the bottom of a 11″x14″x2″ pan, covered the top of the pan with wire mesh, put some paper towel on top of the mesh, piled the wax cappings on top of the paper towel, and placed the pan into a 170°F oven. This way as the wax melts impurities are filtered out by the wire and paper towel, and the melted wax floats on the water in the pan.
The photo above shows the wax cappings piled on top of the paper towel as it started heating in the oven. It’s best to keep the oven temperature as low as possible while still melting the wax, and it should definitely never be heated as high as 200°F as this will darken the wax.
This photo shows the wax after it’s been melting for awhile.
This shows the rendered beeswax on top of the water in the pan shortly after being removed from the oven.
And here’s the finished slab of beeswax with the impurities removed – ready for use. Cappings wax is typically lemon-yellow in color just like this, and makes wonderful health and beauty products.