Over the course of a beekeeping season, you may find yourself collecting scraps of beeswax and not knowing what to do with them. For example, when you scrape away burr comb or lids, or when you scrape away honey cappings during your honey harvest, you will collect perfectly good beeswax. For a small-scale beekeeper this is not going to be a huge amount of wax and hardly worth the time. Let’s face it, you probably are not going to be able to start a Fortune 500 candle company with your meager wax scrapings. However, if you save up enough wax, little by little, over the course of a year you should have eventually gathered enough wax by the end of the year for a few wonderfully scented beeswax candles.
How do you transform your messy wax scrapings into usable beeswax? Enter the solar wax melter. The solar wax melter sounds like a high-tech piece of equipment, but is actually hardly more than a sturdy box with a glass lid. When placed in the sun, the glass lid enables the box to heat up to the melting point of beeswax (145 degrees Fahrenheit). The wax then neatly collects and organizes itself at the bottom of the box. At that point, you have nice amount of quality beeswax, free of charge!
From there, it is just a simple matter of purchasing a candle mold or two. Add some wicks and you are well on your way.
Nearly all beekeeping supply companies sell ready-made solar wax melters. However, the design of these is so simple that it often is just as easy and economical for a beekeeper to construct their own. For a handy beekeeper, a simple internet search will come up with more than enough plans for constructing a basic solar wax melter that works perfectly fine.
Photo of solar wax melter used with permission, courtesy of Dancing Bee Equipment.