Hive Products-making bee balm

Beeswax is possibly my favorite hive product.  There are so many things you can do with it, like making candles, salves, and lip balm. The wax I have collected has mainly been as a byproduct of the honey harvest, and from the inside of the inner cover where my bees insist on building comb between my visits.  Lip balm doesn’t require very much wax, which is perfect as most first-year beekeepers don’t get much.

Honeybees use wax comb to house their brood and store their honey.  The worker bees produce it in scales from glands in their abdominal segments.  The scales fall off and other workers put them to use by softening them with their mandibles.  The wax starts out clear, and then turns opaque once its been chewed- honey cappings are about the purest wax you will find other than the fresh scales.  If the wax is used for honey or brood, pollen and propolis can change the color to yellow or brownish shades.

Raw comb needs to be melted down and strained through cheesecloth to take out the impurities
Raw comb needs to be melted down and strained through cheesecloth to take out the impurities
So the first part of the lip-balm-making process is collecting and cleaning the wax.  After crushing the comb and getting any honey out of it, it needs to be melted down in a double boiler and strained through cheesecloth to get out any pollen or debris. Then, I like to pour the melted wax in 1 tblp containers so that when they cool, they harden into convenient pre-measured blocks.  I use an egg-carrying container, but an ice-cube tray would work really well, too.
I have tried a good few recipes at this point, and am still fine-tuning it.  I started by looking for a basic recipe online, and then reading the ingredient list of several other lip balm brands.
Lip balm ingredients
Lip balm ingredients

The basic recipe I have been using is:

  • 1 part coconut oil
  • 1 part beeswax
  • 1 part shea butter
  • few drops of peppermint essential oil
  • couple drops of vitamin E body oil
Some other things people use are almond butter, olive oil, or lanolin.  Each has slightly different softness and scent, and so which you use is simply a matter of preference.
I scoop the liquid balm into tubes using a small funnel
I scoop the liquid balm into tubes using a small funnel

Once I have all the ingredients together, I just put them in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time until everything is liquid.  Then, I scoop the liquid into a funnel over the clear lip balm tubes I got from Amazon.  Once the balm starts to cool, you get a significant depression at the top of the tube, so I top each one off with a few more drops before I put the caps on and cover them with a sticker.  And that’s it! Feel free to send me a message if you would like to try one!

I designed some labels with my 'brand,' the ingredient list, and fun fact about bees :)
I designed some labels with my ‘brand,’ the ingredient list, and a fun fact about bees 🙂
and viola! yummy bee balm ready to use
and voila! yummy bee balm ready to use