Monday, 23 May 2016

The first produce from the hive

Over the past couple of weeks I have removed a reasonable quantity of brace comb* and drone brood* from the hive during the weekly inspections.

This was a mixture of bees wax, uncapped honey stores and drone larvae and over the past couple of weeks it had started to smell slightly yeasty. Rather than let it go to waste I found a spare hour in my day and set up a hot water bath to melt the waxy mess.

Once the mixture had melted it was paused through a piece of muslin to strain out the crud, leaving behind clean, golden yellow bees wax. It soon cooled and I was able to inspect the first produce from the hive.  The block of wax weighs barely sixty grammes** and would be just about enough to make a small candle.

Realistically I need a lot more wax before I consider manufacturing any bee based produce but, for the moment, I am simply in awe of this useful raw material that has been made from nectar, gathered from thousands and thousands of flowers.
* Brace comb is a term used to describe the clusters of wax cells that bees construct in large spaces; often between the frames and the floor and sides of the hive. Drone brood are the large wax cells that the bees construct around the base of the frames where drones (male bees) are raised.
** a little over two ounces in old money

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