How (not) to recycle beeswax foundation – a step-by-step guide


Posted by Andy Sivell | Posted in Beekeeping advice, Beeswax foundation and frames | Posted on 15-04-2011

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  1. Leave frames with mouldy old foundation, stores and insect bodies festering in crate on garage floor.
  2. Trip over crate at regular intervals.
  3. Chop up wax foundation and put into black bin bag. Leave on garage floor.
  4. Trip over bag at regular intervals.
  5. Look up price of wax melters sold by beekeeping suppliers. Scoff.
  6. Ask wife for large old pan in which to melt foundation.
  7. Turn up nose at large old pan offered.
  8. Look up price of large new pans sold by Argos and Tescos. Scoff.
  9. Place wanted ad for large old pan on Freecycle. Wait.
  10. …And wait.
  11. Accept wife’s offer of large old pan.
  12. Remove handful of sticky, furry mess that was once foundation from black bin bags.

    Melting old beeswax foundation

    "...and when it looks like this it's about ready to throw away."

  13. Drip contents over garage floor.
  14. Drip contents over utility room floor.
  15. Drip contents over kitchen floor.
  16. Boil kettle. Pour hot water into pan. Tip waxy mess into pan. Stir.
  17. Close kitchen door. Open back door. Open windows. Switch on extractor fan. Turn up extractor fan.
  18. Tell curious offspring that you’re recycling wax.
  19. Tell curious offspring not to make a fuss about the smell.
  20. Tell curious offspring not to tell Mum.
  21. Bribe offspring with chocolate.
  22. Add more foundation to pan.
  23. Keep stirring.
  24. Turn up heat under pan. Turn down heat under pan. Re-examine contents of bin bag in garage.
  25. Place bin bag in boot of car to take to tip.
  26. Pour contents of pan into large hole in back garden.
  27. Buy brand new foundation.

Comments (5)

I was wondering how to clean the beeswas I have painstakenly saved over the beekeeping year.

It has gone mouldy, but as last years old pan is no good anymore perhaps I should just dump it BUT it will break my heart

Your experience is very entertainly written. thanks for the smile

Hi Gill,
I followed the advice contained within a series of You Tube videos by Don Kuchenmeister, and it worked perfectly. I also took on board some of the advice given in the comments sections of his videos too (for example, by using rain water and adding a teaspoon of vinegar). See Deryck Johnson ( says to use an old pair of tights to remove the last little bits of crud. I’ve seen the results and they’re really impressive. Best of luck.

Excellent! Who knew beekeeping had such comedy potential. Who’ll play you in the movie?


Now I know what not to do you have saved me so much time and a possible row with usually tolerant husband.

Kind regards

I like it! But you’ve missed

28 Put pan through dishwasher

29 Buy and use dishwasher cleaner

30 Buy and use dishwasher cleaner

31 Buy and use dishwasher cleaner

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