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Frequently Asked Questions
Bee Illuminated Chandlery
Lake Road, Wentworth, Nova Scotia
We make bright and colourful beeswax candles, made from pure Nova Scotian beeswax. We use cappings from local beekeepers which we wash, render and refine (a weeklong process) into very clean, 100% pure beeswax. Our candles burn with a high and cheery flame, and they seem to warm the room.
We fell into the beeswax candle business almost by accident. We had always paid attention to the blueberry industry and it seems that the blueberry growers always pay a lot of attention to the honeybee business. It turns out that the single cheapest way to increase the yield of a blueberry field is to provide additional pollinators to the area, as wild bees and other insects are rarely able to visit every blueberry blossom. Some blueberry growers keep bees, and many others rent hives of bees during the blossom period in late June. And most of these beekeepers have wax to sell in the fall.
The bees store their honey in combs, and beekeepers harvest that honey by slicing off the top of the comb with a hot knife. The comb wax is re-used from year to year and eventually turns very brown, but the wax cappings, at the top, is made fresh every year by young worker bees. This is the best wax. It's clean, it's usually a golden yellow, and it has a lovely fresh honey scent.
We render and then refine all of our wax to ensure that we can maintain the best quality. The cappings come to us in 45-gallon drums, and we wash this material several times in a laundry tub to remove as much of the honey as we can and to remove any dirt, twigs, dead bees and other debris. We also watch for old broodcomb, which will darken the colour of the finished wax. Once the cappings are thoroughly washed we heat them with water in a big pot and melt the wax, which floats to the surface and can be skimmed off. This is filtered and then left on a low heat for several days so the tiny (almost invisible) particles of dirt and other impurities will settle out by gravity. We scoop out the top layers of this wax, filter it again, and let it harden into cakes ready for subsequent melting and pouring.
Most of our candles are made in silicone moulds but we also make hand-dipped tapers. These are made the traditional way by dipping pairs of wick into a vat of molten wax. Each time the wick is lifted out a little more wax adheres, and every few dips the candles are rolled to straighten them and the excess wax at the bottom is cut off. It takes about 25 dips to make a candle but we usually make about eight pairs at a time, so that each candle has time to cool and harden before the next dip. The interesting thing about hand-dips is that we can make them to be any width (by varying the number of dips), so we find ourselves making specialty candles to fit non-standard heirloom candle-holders, as well as menorah candles and even small tapers to fit into European Christmas tree holders. And Beth often holds candle-dipping workshops, where friends and customers come to make their winter's candles.
Making candles is very satisfying work, the more so for the friends we make among our customers.
We have put lots of pictures of candles and processes on our website. We hope that you enjoy them.
All of our shapes, and prices.
Details on shipping, etc
Getting in Touch
How we make our wax so clean - our secrets revealed . . .
Some information on how to burn beeswax candles for best results.
About beeswax, flame management, etc
This page was written by and is maintained by Alan from the Bee Illuminated Chandlery. Last updated 11 November 2023.