Bee Magic Honey
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THe Bee Journal Blog

Barb after shaking off the bee beard (12 stings)

This blog is about Barb's adventures and misadventures as a hobby beekeeper.   She started with two hives in 2009 and Dad, Lorne, joined to help in the hobby when Barb had a fateful fall and broke her arm two weeks before getting her first hives.


They've experienced both successful years and difficult ones working alongside the hardest working and most amazing insect in the world.  Every visit to the bee yard there's a new lesson to learn.

Barbara Lindberg
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 I've done a couple postings on making body products with oils and beeswax.  Generally the recipes are very similar.  The bottom line is that the amount of wax added to the oil will determine how hard the lip balm, lotion bar or salve or ointment will be. Generally salves should be softer so you can dip your finger in to scoop a glob.  So there is less wax used in these recipes. The ingredients can vary widely as far as what oils you use and also if you use a scent or fragrance or essential oils. This recipe is how to make a salve which is great to put on those aching muscles or arthritic joints.  I have bad knees and I was surprised to find how much this salve helps. You could actually make your own "Tiger Balm" which is quite effective - but that requires product from a supplier.  This recipe uses spices from your own kitchen that are warming or hot.  It's not as strong as Tiger Balm but I find it's better for daily application and less smelly. Warming Spice Salve: Containers - small jar or two 2 oz tins 6 tbsp Infused Olive Oil (see how to below) 2 tbsp Cayenne Pepper Powder 2 tbsp Black Pepper2 tbsp Ginger Powder 2 tbsp Beeswax 25 drops Essential Oils (see below) If you have a fine sieve then the spices can go into the oil loose.  If not, use a piece of cloth to knot and hold the spices. An Oil Infusion:  In a double boiler heat the oil and spices over a medium heat for 45 mins.  Let cool and then strain the spices, keeping the oil. Reheat the oil over a medium heat and add the beeswax.  Have containers ready.  Once the wax is melted, add the Essential Oils, stir well and then pour into containers.  Let cool. There are essential oils that will not only give scent to the salve, they are also known for their anti-inflammatory properties which will aid the area it's applied to.  These oils are Ginger, Rosemary, Peppermint, Black Pepper, Clove, and Lavender.  Don't use all of them but one or two would be lovely.  An oil like Lavender can also help to relax and de-stress as well.  There will be a spicy smell to this salve which you'll always smell as well but I don't find it unpleasant. The red colour comes form the spices.  It goes on the skin red but does not stain the skin. Now that I've shared my recipe, I'd love to hear how you like it if you've tried it.
Barbara Lindberg
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If you've made lip balm then you can make a lotion bar. The process is the same - you make a semi solid cake with moisturizing oils and beeswax. The finished lotion bar melts on contact with your warm skin.  This bar is lovely to rub on your dewy skin after a shower. With the lip balm recipe a couple posts back, I used simple oils that are readily available in the kitchen. For this recipe it uses a variety of nourishing and moisturizing oils which are quite luxurious for the skin. The beeswax helps to create an emollient barrier on the skin which holds the moisture against the skin. Essential oils give your bar glorious scents and if you explore some aromatherapy oils you can create blends that can be for stress, relaxation, etc.  These give your bar an added dimension and are value added which takes your product up a notch. The molds used for the shapes are soap molds (Milky Way brand of molds - "Guest Soap") which are sold at the suppliers listed previously on the Lip Balm recipe and re-posted at the bottom. A small kitchen scales will help tremendously since most recipes are not by tbsp or cups, but instead by grams. Some of the oils are semi-solid at room temperature and some are liquid oils. Recipe yields 6 bars 18 g Virgin Coconut Oil 36 g Apricot Kernel Oil 36 g Jojoba Oil 30 g Shea Butter 36 g Cocoa Butter (deodorized or it smells like chocolate - which isn't a bad thing)  15 g Mango Butter 8 gel capsules Vitamin E Oil 3 g Essential Oil Blend 81 g Beeswax Slowly melt the beeswax, coconut oil, apricot kernel oil, jojoba oils and cocoa butter on a low heat until melted.  Then add in the Shea and Mango Butters.  Finally add the more delicate Vitamin E Oil and your Essential Oil blend.  Stir and make sure everything is melted. Have your molds ready and pour your warm mixture into the molds.  Leave 30 minutes to cool.  I find it's best to put in the freezer for 5 minutes prior to unmolding so that pieces don't stick in the mold. Or a better way is to place the freshly poured molds into the freezer for 15 minutes, then remove and unmold so that your mold is freed up to do another batch. The bars do fit nicely into metal tins sold at the suppliers which keep them from being crushed. I'd love to hear from you if you try this.  Good luck! Candian suppliers: New Directions - Canada Voyageur Soap & Candle USA suppliers: New Directions - USA Brambleberry
Dr Ernesto Gusman and Paul Kelly are the excellent instructors for the beekeeping course held at the University of Guelph's Apiculture Centre. Below is a link to a series of about 30 free instructional beekeeping videos.  They are very professional and Paul's teaching technique is very straightforward and easy to understand.  I can't believe these are free! This is a beekeeper's goldmine of info.  Enjoy! An example is Swarm Control posted below.  When hives swarm we lose productivity in the hive so it's best to try to prevent it.

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