Wax printed honeycomb helps WEEMA-funded beekeepers


You may have heard the expression “busy as a bee” and wondered, what is it that bees are so busy doing? As the expression implies, making honey is a very labor-intensive process for bees.

Before bees can even consider making honey, they must build honeycomb.  Honeycomb is a mass of hexagon shaped cells made from wax that serves a dual purpose. The honeycomb is where the queen bee lays her eggs and where the worker bees store the honey they produce. Essentially it is the foundation of the hive. Building the honeycomb is the most energy-consuming and stressful task for the bees. It takes anywhere between three weeks to one month for the bees to produce the honeycomb. The energy required for that production leaves the bees with less time for pollinating and producing honey.  

WEEMA-supported beekeepers are using a unique technique to make this process a whole lot easier - they are using a wax printing machine. The process involves pressing beeswax between patterned metal rollers to create a honeycomb. These are built into a wooden frame which is then inserted into the beehive. Each standard beehive has ten frames of honeycomb. Once the beekeepers print wax for one frame there is no need to print wax again for that frame. The beekeepers sweep the honey from the frame and the frame can be used again and again.

The benefit of using this technique is that the bees are now able to work on producing honey right away versus using their time and energy to make honeycomb. For the beekeepers this means they will be able to harvest honey from their hives more frequently. In other words, more honey - which translates to more profit for our beekeepers.