At Bee’s Wrap, beeswax is central to what we do — and we think of this substance as nothing short of magical. Beeswax is useful, renewable, beautiful, and versatile. We’re grateful to go to work everyday in a workshop that smells faintly of wax, a smell we adore. It's the smell of sugar cookies and brown sugar, of melting sweet cream butter and honey.
We’re also grateful for the incredible bees, and thoughtful beekeepers, who make and harvest this wax — and who taught us, in our early days, about how to best be stewards and friends to the bees. Our friend Kirk Webster, who lives down the road here in Vermont, was one of our earliest teachers. Everything he’s taught us about responsible beekeeping helps us evaluate the practices of the new beekeepers we partner with as Bee’s Wrap grows. We make it part of our mission to source the best possible beeswax from the most responsible beekeepers, and we rely on the advice of experts like Kirk to help guide our research as we find the best beekeeping partners.
We caught up with Kirk one afternoon last fall to take a peek at the season's honey extraction operation and to chat wax.
Part of our commitment to sustainability is using wax that comes from the cappings of the honeycomb, a byproduct of the honey extraction process. “The bees seal their honeycombs with wax, that’s what the capping is, and we have to cut them off in order to get the honey to come out,” Kirk told us.
“In North America, that’s what makes most of the wax that’s on the market,” Kirk said, using an uncapping fork to scratch the wax cappings open.
By cutting off the cappings and leaving the rest of the honeycomb intact, Kirk says, “you can reuse the combs for many years. This one could be thirty years old.”
“There’s all kinds of mechanical contraptions to cut the cappings off of the combs, and this is one of the simplest ones,” Kirk says. “This is so safe, there’s no moving parts, you can put your hand right on it and it won’t cut you, and it just works so well and is so simple.”
Access to clean forage is another critical factor in producing the healthiest wax. Our beekeepers keep their hives away from areas with high pesticide use, like golf courses and non-organic farms; this helps prevent the accumulation of pesticides and herbicides in our wax, and protects bees from the dangers of pesticides, herbicides, and GMOs.
The beekeepers we work with also leave enough honey in their hives to allow the bees to comfortably overwinter, resting up until spring arrives.
Our beeswax is never chemically altered or bleached, and is tested by the USDA for 200 pesticides and herbicides, ensuring the use of the cleanest possible wax. The beekeepers with whom we work are on the front lines of supporting a healthy, vibrant pollinator population.
We’re honored to partner with sustainable beekeepers who, as Kirk says, are working to put their bees on “the path back to balance, stability, resilience and health.” And we’re committed to making Bee’s Wrap with only the cleanest wax we can find, for the good of us all.