Topbar Beekeeping

I'm an urban topbar beekeeper in Albuquerque, NM. I manage hives in backyards and small organic farms within city limits. These hives are probably pollinating your veggie patches right now. Visit my website at:


Solar melter- you put your beeswax in there

You would think when making beeswax that you just scruntch up all of the comb you have pulled honey from, melt it down and put a wick in it. Not so. First you have to separate out all of the pollen, bee cocoons, bee antennae, possibly some wax moth cocoons and all the dirt and dust that keep your candle from burning well. I'm personally not a candle person but I don't want to be rubbing bee trash all over my lips with my homemade coconut swirl lip balm.

Solar melter, you put your beeswax in there

The first thing you do when rendering down your comb is to get a big roasting pan. I got mine at the local thrift store for $8. Steep prices at Thrift Town. Next, you pour in a few inches of water into the bottom of the roasting pan. The water is for the wax to float on top of as it melts away from the bee trash. Without the water, you won't be able to easily peel the hardened wax away from the pan. After you have water in the pan, you pour in your crushed up comb on one end of the pan and you prop up the pan so that as the wax melts away from the comb it collects at the other end of the pan.

This next step is very important. The finishing touch for your solar melter is a piece of glass or a plastic trash bag over the whole pan. This increases the heat inside your solar melter and keeps the bees away from your irresistible smelling concoction. I was a dummy and decided to go without a top for my solar melter because it is 100 degrees in Albuquerque right now and didn't feel inspired to pull apart my framed Tricentennial poster so that I could use the glass. Long story short, I came out to a bee massacre in my back yard. 100's of bees were trying to get into my solar melter to suck up honey, only to start cooking in the melting wax! No!!!! I grabbed a clear trash bag and covered the whole thing and released bees for the next hour, while shooing away the scavengers around me.

After a full day of cooking, I let the wax cool down in my melter and then peeled up the beeswax pieces. Tomorrow, I will do a final filter on my wax.

It's working, the wax is melting off

That looks really cool

The finished product, compost on one side, wax on the other

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