The "Magic"of Beeswax
Updated: Dec 9, 2020
Beeswax is a natural wax produced by Honey bees of the genus Apis. The bee has 8 wax glands in the abdominal area where the wax scales are formed. The wax production is usually triggered by a nectar flow because of the energy which is needed for wax production. To produce 1 kg of beeswax the Honeybees need about 8kg of Honey. Small amounts of wax can be produced at any time but big amounts only when the nectar source is plenty. Here a photo I took some years ago from the wax scales under the abdomen of a Honeybee:
The bees use the wax as the main material for building their honeycomb home. It is indeed an amazing material. Wikipedia has a great writeup about beeswax: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beeswax There is so much history about Beeswax because of its many uses for us humans. In the Stoneage, beeswax was even used as tooth fillings. And up until today beeswax is an ingredient in surgical bone wax to prevent bleeding from the bone surface. Bees are also able to steal wax from old bee homes. They scrape the wax off where they can find some and stick it on there back leg just the way they do with Pollen of Propolis. If you want to see how they do it, just watch carefully the vid which I took a couple of weeks ago https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7dclzzpxDyM&feature=youtu.be You can clearly see how the bee attaches the bits of wax onto there back legs. It certainly saves energy to get wax in this way rather than producing it. In my beekeeping operation, I use wax for many things. The cleanest organic wax I get from the wax cappings which I cut off the honeycomb before spinning the honey out. That wax can be used as a base for ointments or lip balms. Also, it's ideal for making Wax wraps. I sell it in small quantities at my market stall in Nelson or online. Then I also can get beeswax from old frames or frames which need replacing. That wax is good for making Candles and also can be used for wood or leather or many other things. Over Christmas, I sell some attractive homemade Christmas tree candles which are made from this pure beeswax.
Now, one IMPORTANT thing about ORGANIC BEESWAX is, that it has NOT been exposed to Miticides. Miticides are chemicals used against the Varroa mite in commercial beekeeping to fight the mites in bee colonies. Those chemicals are easy absorbed by the wax in the beehives. There can be quite a high concentration of miticides in beeswax depending where it comes from and how the beekeeper has used the miticides. If you want to use the beeswax for making skin creams, soap, lip balms, wax wraps or ointments then its a wise decision to use ORGANIC BEESWAX only which you get only from a beekeeper which used only Organic treatments. If you just want to make some candles or use wax for some wood treatment then it's not so important which wax you use. If you can not get Organic Beeswax then it's still a reasonably good choice to get pure Beeswax from Cappings. Beeswax from Cappings will have the lowest amount of miticides in them if it comes from a beekeeping operation that does not use Organic treatments. So much in short to the topic Beeswax. Here I add a little Video how to produce Beeswax Candles.