a group of bees on a honeycomb

How is beeswax made?

What we found out may surprise you. As we are just days away from the Canadian Day of the Honey Bee on May 29th I would like to share one of the mysteries of honey bees - how beeswax is made.

Beeswax is the star ingredient of Honey Candles® pure natural beeswax candles. We make natural beeswax into votives, tealightspillars and tapers that our customers happily burn regularly.  I checked out a couple sources to find out how our beeswax is made. 

The wax is made by young bees less than 17 days old. The wax is secreted from glands that gradually atrophy as the bee ages and begins foraging.  Therefore the bees must be young. The bees gorge themselves on nectar that has been stored in the colony.  They rest for 24 hours while their bodies metabolize the wax.  They scurry around searching for a place in the hive that needs work. The bee has eight tiny slits on her abdomen where tiny moist scales of wax emerge.  Using one of her rear legs armed with spiky tongs the bee takes a flake at a time, chews it to soften it and places it on the honeycomb cell.  Each added bit of wax is smoothed and polished. Then she moves to where more wax is needed.  Beeswax is composed of fatty acids, alcohol, hydrocarbons along with other substances.  It is white when the bees first secrete it but gradually turns yellow and darkens. My understanding the darkness is determined by the flowers used for nectar.  It can be very dark ranging from brown to black because it also contains oil, pollen and propolis from the larval food along with cocoons from the bee brood. Candle wax needs to be very clean so that you get your best burn so Honey Candles® only uses well filtered beeswax that we filter ourselves..

For more reading: Honey Candles® loves Honey Bees.

Published By Pat Cattermole

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