Comb Honey by Mistake

Yum! Fresh comb honey.  We were blessed with all this great comb, but it wasn’t something we  had planned.

Here is what happened:

When we caught our fall swarm we needed to give them a few frames with food and brood.  So we took 2 frames from an existing hive, but didn’t have any empty frames on hand at the moment. We actually had an order with new frames on the way.  So we left 2 frame slots empty and said we would add in 2 frames when they arrived. Fast forward a week and we totally forgot about the empty slots.  We went to open the hive and could not get the cover off, it was stuck.  Once we finally pried it open we realized what had happened.

The bees had filled up the empty space with new comb that was full of honey!  Our first thought was what a big mess, but we decided to take advantage of the situation and carefully gather the comb.

So we turned a sticky mess into a sweet deal.


How to Clean Beeswax

Imagine you just finished harvesting your honey and you are left with a bucket full of uncapping wax.  What do you do with it?  How do you clean it?  I’m going to tell you how, and it is easy.

Dirty wax Clean wax

Before you do anything, some safety tips:

  • Never leave wax unattended while heating it. Wax can easily catch on fire.
  • Melt wax at a low to medium-low heat setting.  It takes some time, but is much safer.

Ok, now on to how you do it.  You will want to use a pot for wax melting only. After this you will never be able to clean it good. Wax is very hard to remove.

1. Fill a pot halfway with water. Add in the dirty wax.  (I use an 8-quart stock pot I got at Walmart for $6.94.)
2. Turn the burner on to medium-low heat and allow the water to come to a slow boil and melt the wax in the water.  Once it reaches a slow boil, remove the pot from the heat.
3. Let the pot sit overnight to cool.  The wax will float to the top of the water and harden.  
4. Remove the wax and set it on a paper towel. Drain the dirty water.  I suggest doing this outside because the remaining particles can easily clog your drain.
5. The wax will have a lot of dirty particles on the bottom, you can cut or scrap this off with a knife and toss out.
6. Now you will melt the wax without water. This is done using a double boiler. (Never put a pot with wax directly on the burner.) You can do this by putting a smaller pot into a larger pot that has water in it. Put your wax in the pot and turn the burner on to medium-low heat.
7. While the wax melts in your double boiler, you can prepare the container the melted wax will go in.  I use milk/orange juice cartons (not plastic).  I take a piece of cheesecloth, fold it over a few times and put it across my container.  This serves as a final filter to trap any remaining particles in your wax.
8. When the wax is melted, remove from heat.
9. Pour the melted wax into your container and allow to cool for several hours or overnight.

That’s it!  It does take some time to do, especially with having to allow the wax to cool completely, but in the end you are left with a gorgeous block of clean wax.