The beekeepers met on a sunny Sunday at the beginning of July in Whithorn. The subject for the day was beeswax.
Wax is a by-product of beekeeping – the bees produce wax to form comb for brood rearing and for honey and pollen storage. Wax cannot be re-used by the bees if it is not in the form of comb, so beekeepers look after their wax comb to save the bees the energy of making more – the reason honey is usually spun out of the wax comb.
However there are times when wax is taken from the bees (e.g. cappings from honeycomb, brace comb, irregular comb) and it can be used by the beekeeper to make all sorts of things from candles to polishes, lip balms to skin products and by artists for batik, for example.
Firstly the beekeepers learned how they can recover wax using a steam wax extractor (cleverly fashioned from a wallpaper stripper!) – this can also be done using a solar wax extractor. Then the wax requires to be filtered to remove any debris before it can be used.
Examples of candle moulds were shared and candles were made from rolled wax foundation. Some of the new beekeepers practised constructing hive frames, ready to insert wax foundation.
A great day was had by all.
The next event will be the Wonder of Honeybees, an event open to locals and visitors alike – there will be no admission fee. This is the opportunity for the general public to find out all about bees and beekeeping, the importance bees are to the food we consume, what flowers bees like, buy local honey and other bee products, see our Royal Highland Show prize exhibits and, if you are interested in becoming a beekeeper, some information about beekeeping courses.
If you miss the Wonder of Honeybees, you will find us at Wigtown Show on Wednesday 1st August.
The Wonder of Honeybees will be held on Sunday 22nd July, 11am – 4pm, at Glen of Luce Hall, Auchenmalg.