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How-Tos from the Hive

Hive bees

By Clara Roth ’21 and Zoe Muller ’22

Dickinson’s Center for Sustainability Education plays many roles on campus, including that of pollinator sanctuary. Depending on the time of year, the honeybees on campus can number well above 100,000 individuals, which means they easily outnumber the students 50:1. In addition to the honeybee hives, the Hive at Dickinson supports native pollinator homes, pollinator-friendly gardens and the health of our tiny neighbors around the grounds.

The Hive manages the beehives behind the Rector Science Complex and introduces students, staff and faculty to the bees—but not just through beekeeping. Volunteers assist with hive checks, help promote native bee populations, harvest honey and make value-added products. In recent semesters, the Hive has been expanding the value-added product activity offerings by hosting various “make your own” events. This past academic year, participants made deodorant, sunscreen, soap and candles. All these products include one very important ingredient: beeswax.

Beeswax is a precious resource for honeybees. Making one pound of beeswax requires over 30 million visits to flowers, 550,000 collective miles flown and 10 pounds of honey. Bees excrete the wax from special glands on their abdomen to help build their comb, making it an important commodity. It is also useful in creating your own cosmetics. To show you how, here are two of our more popular recipes to try at home! 

Natural Deodorant


  • 2-3 tablespoons beeswax (more or less beeswax will make a harder or softer product)
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon shea butter
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • ¼ cup aluminum-free baking soda
  • Essential oils to preference
  • Empty deodorant container


  1. Use double-boiler system to melt the beeswax, coconut oil and shea butter (place a heat-safe bowl containing the ingredients over a pot of boiling water).
  2. Once the ingredients have fully melted, remove bowl from the double boiler.
  3. Add in essential oils to preference (the more oils, the stronger the scent).
  4. Stir in the cornstarch and baking soda in small increments and mix until smooth.
  5. Pour into empty deodorant container and let solidify.

Note: When switching from a “regular” deodorant, your body may go through a detox phase in which you sweat more while your body rebalances its natural bacteria. This is normal and worth it to know exactly what you’re using on your body!

Lip Balm


  • 2 tablespoons beeswax
  • 2 tablespoons shea butter
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • Essential oils to preference
  • Jar/container


  1.  Use double boiler to melt beeswax, shea butter and coconut oil.
  2. Once completely melted, add essential oils to taste and mix.
  3. Pour into jar/container and let set.


 Email to join our mailing list.
 Visit, which has information about our working groups that focus on and plan activities around specific areas (beekeeping, honey harvest, native pollinators and value-added products).
 Follow one or more of the Dickinson College bees by getting regular updates from the bees themselves through the Bee. F. F. program.

Read more from the summer 2019 issue of Dickinson Magazine.


Published August 21, 2019