Value Added Products
Though bees are most famous for their honey (and ability to scare off elephants), they offer numerous additional benefits to beekeepers willing to invest a little extra time and energy.
Beehives can be a source of not only honey but also beeswax, propolis, royal jelly, and pollen. While often discarded, these valuable secondary beekeeping materials can be transformed into a wide variety of value-added products including candles, lip balm, soap, and body cream.
Here at the Elephants and Bees Project we’re not only producing plenty of lovely honey but we are also currently developing and selling elephant-friendly candles and lip balm.
The first step in creating these products is processing the beeswax into a clean, usable product. Throughout hive cleaning and honey harvesting we save as much beeswax as possible including emptied honeycomb from KTB hives, cappings, old brood comb, and errant combs. Once a sufficient amount of beeswax is collected, it’s time to start processing. The combs are melted down in a double boiler, filtered through fabric, and poured in a mold to cool. Once it has been filtered 2 or 3 times, the beeswax is a creamy yellow and debris-free. We store the blocks of wax in a cool, dry location until it’s time to create our value-added products.
Our one hundred percent pure elephant-friendly beeswax is used to create candles. We melt the beeswax in a double boiler and prep the candlewicks by coating them in beeswax. This step helps the wick stand straight in the candle and prevents air bubbles from forming alongside the wick. The wicks are then placed into the desired mold and the melted beeswax poured in. After filling with wax, we leave the candles to cool for several hours. Once completely hardened, the candles can be removed from the mold. They’re now ready to provide hours of clean burning and elephant-friendly light.
ELEPHANT-FRIENDLY LIP BALM
To make little lip balms, our cleaned Elephant-Friendly beeswax is weighed and placed in a double boiler to heat. Once the beeswax is melted, we add coconut and olive oils and stir while heating. Once the mixture is well combined we remove it from the heat so we can add a touch of vanilla and our Elephant-Friendly honey. We continue stirring the lip balm just until it starts to set and then pour it into tins to continue cooling prior to use.