How is beeswax made? Mr Beam explains
Beeswax is a product made by honey bees that is used to build honeycomb. Due to its antibacterial, water-repellent and caring properties, the agent is also used in other areas and scores with natural ingredients. Maybe you're eating a chewy candy with a beeswax coating or using a lip balm with the natural product.
What is beeswax?
Beeswax is a substance secreted by honey bees. The wax used to construct their hexagonal combs consists primarily of esters of long-chain fatty acids and alcohols. As the bee colony incubates, the initially light yellow wax takes on a brownish colour. Beekeepers filter the contaminants to obtain pure beeswax. The natural substance has numerous positive properties that make it interesting for industry. It is used, among other things, to make candles and is used in food and cosmetic products. You can also find the natural product in woodworking and medicine.
The composition of beeswax is extremely complex and includes over 300 ingredients. Myricyl palmitate, melissic acid and cerotic acid and various hydrocarbons make up a large part. The wax contains propolis and has an antibacterial effect. In addition, the substance is water-repellent and air-permeable at the same time. This allows the wax to act as a protective layer and be used in skin care and waterproofing.
How is beeswax made?
Bees produce the wax from special glands in their abdomen, which develop after about 11 days on the ventral side between the abdominal scales of the worker bees. The initially white wax flakes weigh less than a milligram and are not even the size of a pinhead. Worker bees pick up the chips, process and mix them with their saliva and use them to build the honeycomb. These serve as containers for storing honey, pollen and as a breeding ground for bee larvae. Worker bees attach the wax discs to the sides of the honeycomb cells, forming them into perfect hexagons. The honeycombs are designed to make the best use of the available space and form a stable structure. When building honeycomb, pollen and propolis get into the wax, giving the building material a light yellow colour. A colony of bees can produce between 0.5 and 1.5 kilograms of wax per year. The unique composition of the wax gives the hive some remarkable properties, such as its strength and its resistance to heat and water.
How is beeswax obtained?
In order to light a beeswax candle, a few steps are necessary. Beekeepers remove combs that are no longer used and separate them from the honey by pressing and centrifuging. Then the melting process takes place:
- The wax is melted using a wax melter. The device heats the honeycomb slowly and gently.
- While steam wax melters use steam to liquefy the wax, eco-friendly solar wax melters use sunlight for this process.
- After melting, impurities are filtered out and the wax is poured into the desired shapes.
If you buy products with beeswax, you should make sure that the beekeeper has not used any chemical solvents or bleach to clean the wax. Obtained from bees, the wax is a natural raw material and retains its characteristic yellow colour and pleasant fragrance.
What can you do with beeswax?
Pure beeswax can be used in various areas. From the production of candles, cosmetics, soaps, furniture polish to food and medical applications, the natural building fabric is in demand. Beeswax candles are popular and make a great gift. Candles made from this wax burn longer and produce less soot than candles made from other materials. In addition, the natural substance has a pleasant, sweet scent, which can vary depending on the origin and processing. If you light a beeswax candle in the room, you can create an aromatic and stress-free atmosphere.
Beeswax is commonly used in skin care products because of its soothing, anti-inflammatory and moisturizing properties. It forms a protective film on the skin that prevents moisture loss and protects the skin from external influences. Used in cosmetics such as lip balm, lotion and moisturizers, the wax helps to soften and soften dry skin. You can also use the wax as a natural emulsifier to mix oils and water together. Mix it with almond oil and distilled water to make your own skin cream. The wax can also make your shoes winter and weatherproof. Apply the wax to the desired area with a cloth and melt it with a hair dryer. After a few minutes of drying time, the shoes are suitable for rain and snow.
Beeswax is also used in woodworking and furniture restoration. The wax acts as a natural wood preservative that nourishes the wood and protects it from moisture. Surfaces treated with beeswax have a silky sheen and feel pleasantly smooth. The product made by bees is a natural and non-toxic alternative for wood care and sealing and has a long tradition in this area: the ancient Romans used the wax to seal their wooden barrels to protect the contents from moisture. With our Mr Beam wood care set, you can also take care of wood engravings very well. The food industry uses the wax, for example, as a coating for chewing gum and dragées. Various creams, ointments and pastes for medical purposes are also provided with the natural product. Heat packs with beeswax can help with joint and muscle pain.
Mr Beam plywood beech, 4mm, pack of 5 A3, suitable for [x]
Mr Beam wood care set with stone pine oil and beeswax
Mr Beam Poplar plywood suitable for [x], 8mm, A3
Is beeswax sustainable?
Beeswax is a natural product made by bees that is biodegradable and leaves no harmful residue. The wax is naturally decomposed by microorganisms and is more environmentally friendly and sustainable compared to artificial waxes. The production of beeswax requires less energy, especially when the wax is obtained with a solar wax melter. It is also a renewable raw material obtained from the honeycomb of the beehive without harming the insects.
The wax can be used as an environmentally friendly alternative for wood polishes and the sealing of wooden surfaces, and convinces with numerous other application possibilities. By buying beeswax products, you contribute to a healthy environment. Bees are essential pollinators for many plants and support the diversity of ecosystems. By using beeswax products, you can help local beekeepers and promote bee population conservation. Alternatively, you can also build your own bee hotel.
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