Some keepers will also prepare and use the wax after the honey has been removed. Beeswax benefits are many and may be used for cosmetics, crafts, ornaments, batik, and candles, and can even be rubbed onto thread to give it some strength.
Although it is a process, and some keepers choose either to allow the bees to keep their combs after the honey has been removed from the frames or simply give the wax away or discard it, others will clean it for later use.
Some beekeepers will melt the wax in a pot in a low-temperature oven. As the wax melts, the honey and debris will drop to the bottom, while the wax will rise to the top for skimming.
Another, more popular method is to drop the comb in a pot of water:
- The water is allowed to come to a boil, melting the wax. The wax will rise to the top, while any debris or bits of leftover honey will sink to the bottom.
- The pot is then removed from the heat and allowed to cool just long enough so the wax may be handled without you getting burned.
- The wax is placed into a double boiler and remelted, at which time any remaining debris may be removed (some people will also put it through a strainer to catch more debris).
- The wax is then poured into a mold (usually a square or rectangular block mold), allowed to harden, removed from the mold, and stored in a cool, dry place until ready to use.
However, when using beeswax for cosmetics, check with the beekeeper (if not using wax from your own bees) to make sure that no chemicals were used with the bees, as these can sometimes get into the wax and may be harmful to humans.
Finally, when melting beeswax, no matter what you are melting it for, it should be noted that, while the beeswax will not boil, it can catch fire. This can be somewhat avoided by not melting the wax in a pan (unless it has water in it) or simply melting the wax in a double boiler.
As you can see, there are many different ways to utilize beeswax. Use your imagination and have fun trying out different uses for your very own farm-fresh beeswax.
Royal jelly is another by-product of the bees. Used since ancient times for both medicinal and cosmetic purposes, royal jelly is rich in protein, vitamins, fats, and minerals.
Today, it is sold as a dietary supplement, and, so far, cannot be made synthetically. While the ancient Chinese used royal jelly as an aphrodisiac, the ancient Egyptian pharaohs believed that it would keep their bodies young and beautiful in both life and death.
Like honey, royal jelly was also used in mummification. Today, royal jelly is used to treat a number of symptoms and ailments, including asthma, insomnia, hay fever, symptoms of menopause, and even some skin problems. Royal jelly may be purchased in many forms, and is available commercially in tablets or capsules, powder, or freshly frozen in its natural state, with most agreeing that the latter is the best way to purchase whenever possible.
It must be said that royal jelly can be expensive, as it is so time-consuming to harvest. Also, unlike honey, royal jelly is perishable in its natural state, requiring immediate refrigeration or freezing upon harvest. It is important to note too that some people may have an allergic reaction to royal jelly.
You should be especially careful if you are already known to have an allergy to honey or bee stings. If ever in doubt, consult a doctor before consuming. Although the benefits of royal jelly are questioned today, one has to wonder why, if it has no benefits, royal jelly has been in use since ancient times.