Beeswax to the Max!
Our beeswax business has turned out to be more substantial than we planned or even imagined. We're still smalltimers compared to the giants of the industry, but we do enjoy handling many thousands of pounds of pure beeswax. A lot of folks probably don't have experience with nature's wax. There are a ton of paraffin/petroleoum substances and quite a few soy products that seem more prominent in big box store displays. Anyway, pure wax is one more way we get to engage with an interesting group of people that create an impressive range of products using beeswax. We mostly mold retail blocks and make a few candles at our place, but one of the coolest new concepts behind one of our more recent sales is a spray applied onto the skin after tattooing. The list just goes on: furniture polishes, lip balms, die casting, ski waxes, weatherproofing leather, pharmaceutical capsules, and even airplane applications. I once replied to a quote request that came from a Bombardier jet supplier--that seemed cool even though I wasn't sure how they use wax.
We started out with a solar melter in the backyard that dripped into a bread pan. For the first ten years of my life, it was a summertime fixture out in the lawn. Periodically I had to clean it out. I don't remember if I liked that chore or not, but I can still envision the process clearly. Now we have a few different melters for various parts of the handling process. There are melters for separating capping wax from honey during harvest, a melter for filtering raw blocks into cleaner blocks of several sizes, and a simple station for melting small quantities of wax to make candles.
The image at the top of the posts shows our common wax block dimensions and a few candles. We sell most of those items on our website. The ten pound blocks are quite popular. We also provide wax by the pallet. That is the part we didn't imagine in our future!
The bees produce relatively little wax compared to the honey that they store. The yellow wax that most customers like to purchase is the "cappings wax" that the bees used in their surplus boxes to keep the honey covered for future use. That type of wax is light colored and often smells strongly of honey if it is gently handled. That honey scent is usually a prized characteristic that's not guaranteed on the national/international wax market. We sell wax from our own bees and from some larger Midwestern beekeeper friends that produce cappings wax but don't want to be troubled with selling it in small quantities. We enjoy melting it into different blocks and quantities for all of the fun things that people need beeswax to create!