Wax Production: How Honey Bees Make Wax

Beeswax is produced naturally by various bee species. Since wax is natural, many people prefer to use skincare and cosmetic products made of wax. Almost everything from vitamin A to antioxidants, which is necessary for a lively and healthy skin, is available in wax. Due to its softening and moisturizing feature, the wax will provide the water and shine your skin needs. Thanks to its anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties, it will help treat the ailments such as acne and eczema on your skin and will bring softness to your skin again. So what is this wax with many benefits and what is it made of?

The process of producing wax begins with the brightly colored flowers in a garden or forest attract the bees. Bees look for these flowers to produce pollen and nectar. Bees that turn most of the low sugar nectar into honey with high sugar content use some of this nectar to make wax. The bee colony cannot survive without wax. This is because bees are making honeycombs from beeswax. Preserving honey in honeycombs is essential because new generation bees will be fed with this honey. Thus, the continuity of the colony is ensured. The bees carefully place the honey they do not consume on the honeycombs. These honeycombs are hexagonal cylinders and are constructed to be next to each other and then back to back. Bees hide both honey and pollen in these honeycombs. At the same time, these honeycombs are where bees raise their offspring.

When worker bees return to the hive with the nectar they collect, they give this nectar to the bees in charge of making wax. These bees eat both honey and nectar and produce wax by processing these materials in their bodies. Generally, bees consume 6 to 8 units of honey to produce one unit of wax. Naturally, the beeswax needed by bees to keep the colony is produced by bees by consuming large amounts of nectar. Immediately after eating nectar and honey, the bees extract the wax they produce in their bellies into small scales. The bees then chew this wax, making it soft and shapeable. When it comes to wax consistency, bees start making honeycombs as well. After filling the hexagonal honeycombs with honey, they cover the top with wax again. A large amount of the waxes obtained are obtained from these caps because these caps must be removed in order to collect the honey.

Generally, farmers use a hot knife to heat these lids and separate them from the honeycomb. The lids fall into a basket and then roll-up. When enough wax is obtained, this accumulation is melted. (The wax usually melts at 149 degrees Celsius.) This melting process is also necessary to separate the small amount of honey that remains in the wax. Meanwhile, honey settles to the bottom and lighter wax comes to the surface. Then melted wax is poured into molds and they are expected to solidify. The shaped and solidified wax is sold to a wide variety of industrial areas for the production of wax-based products. Undoubtedly, the wax is further refined and purified before it can be used as a household product. Some of the well-known wax-based products include candles, cosmetic creams, lotions, and lubricants.

The beauty of wax-based products is their naturalness. The ingredients required for healthy and lively skin are directly produced by hard-working bees. In all parts of the world, stores place more of wax-based products and the demand for wax-based products is increasing. This trend is healthy and sustainable as bees meet many things we need in our daily lives.

Production of Wax by Bees

The task of some of the worker bees in the beehive is to prepare the wax for the construction of the combs. This work is done by 12 to 18 days of worker bees. In order for a bee to form a wax secretion, it is necessary to eat honey continuously for the next two days. The bees tasked with removing the wax form a bunch by clinging to each other with their feet after satiating their bellies. Bees hanging from this cluster without moving, digest the honey they have eaten before. Meanwhile, when the cluster’s air temperature is 25 degrees, the bees start to secrete wax in the form of sweats and droplets. When these droplets combine with air, they freeze in white and white flakes. The bees scrape the wax flakes from their bellies with their hind legs and take them to their mouths, and after chewing and kneading, they use it for the back walls of the honeycombs and the lower angular eyes on both sides of it.

In order for the bee to make one kilogram of wax, it is necessary to eat 10 kg of honey. In the colony, which has 20 thousand bees in the average hive, 1 kg of honeycomb can be prepared with ten days of work. During this time, the bees knead one and a half million wax flakes. There are 65 wax flakes per bee. The first wax comes out of the bees are white, but the gases in the hive and the mixtures of honey and flower powder, propolis and pupae change the color of the wax. That is why we can wash the dark waxes with rainwater to make it white.

Detailed Information About Wax Production

When we say wax, it is the bee honeycombs that come to our mind. The raw material of the general honeycomb you know and see is actually wax. Beeswax is considered as a second product by beekeepers. Since the amount of wax per hive is low, it does not see sufficient value. However, we can say that the price of a product with real wax is almost as much as the price of honey. The production of honey and beeswax undergoes interdependent processes.

Beeswax sources are honey-free embossed honeycombs found in the back of old-type hives and honey-scraped glazes, honeycombs of curved and broken frames, beehives and frame scrapings, and waxed and honeycomb parts like these. On average, the amount of wax obtained from the combs, which are harvested as 100 kg, is around 1 kg. The most valuable waxes are the glazes taken from the frames with honey. The waxes we normally buy with glaze comb are more valuable. The wax obtained from the glaze in this way is considered as first-class wax.

These waxes, which are in lemon yellow color, are of high quality and overpricing the market. Only white honeycomb pieces can be mixed into the glaze wax. If the combs or scrapings are mixed, the quality decreases. Scratches underneath the first quality wax molds should not be discarded but should be evaluated as second quality along with other bad waxes. While melting the wax, it should be boiled with freshwater or rainwater. Melting wax in copper and iron containers may cause discoloration. Tinned copper, galvanized, iron, aluminum containers are more suitable for melting wax. Containers in which the wax will be poured as mold should be deep in the form of a bowl or pot. Cleaning the mineral containers with soap and water before pouring wax prevents the wax from sticking.

The raw material of beeswax is glucose, fructose, and sucrose, which are the sugars of honey. Bees produce wax to knit the honeycomb eyes. Although the wax does not dissolve in water, it melts in ether and chloroform. It is synthesized from carbohydrates in honey. In order for the bees to produce 1 kg of wax, they need to eat 6-10 kg of honey. Bees secreting waxes eat honey first and then form a chain-shaped cluster at 35 ° C. It is a more important bee product than honey, especially in Africa, Central, and South America. The wax flake is transferred from the abdominal rings to the chin with the feet. Wax processed in the jaw is used for knitting and making honeycomb.

In the chemical structure of wax, there are monoesters (35%), diesters (14%), triesters (3%), hydroxy esters & polyesters (12%), acid esters & polyesters (3%), long-chain hydrocarbons (14%), long-chain fatty acids (%) 12) and water (1%). The melting temperature of the wax is 62-65 C and its specific weight is between 0.960 and 0.970. For this reason, it is collected on the water when it is melted. Its freezing point is 60.5 ° C. It is in the form of a brittle and crunchy dough in cold environments. It can be kneaded and shaped at increasing temperatures. Yellow wax smells like honey. Its taste can be described as slightly spicy.

There is actually a purpose for bees to produce wax. Bees, which also carry out honeycomb production besides honey making, produce wax for the eyes of the honeycombs by knitting it. Bees need to eat almost three times the amount of wax they need to produce beeswax.

Usage Areas of Wax

  • As a Lip Cream

With this natural product, you can keep your lips moist in the winter months. It is also very easy to make. Melt 30 g of beeswax in a bowl (double boiler) that can be placed on boiling water at low heat. Then add a teaspoon of raw honey, 60 grams of squeezed natural olive oil and 60 grams of organic hemp seed oil and mix for 1-2 minutes. To add some flavor to the mixture, add up to 20 drops of mint structure and mix well. Take the mixture from the fire and pour it into the lip moisturizer mold.

  • Skin Moisturizer

You can protect the natural moisture of your skin with wax. Moreover, you can add vitamin E, an antioxidant, to heal your dry, worn and cracked skin. To do this, add 120 grams of sweet organic almond oil to 30 grams of wax and melt over boiling water (double boiler). Add 60 grams of distilled water and mix thoroughly after removing it from the double boiler. Then add 10 drops of vitamin E oil and 10 drops of lavender essential oil to the mixture. After adding the oils, mix the mixture without stopping until it cools down. Then you can pour it into separate containers and use them.

  • In candles

Creating an ambiance in your home without annoying candle drops and removing toxic fumes is quite easy with wax candles. Also, when these candles burn, a sweet honey smell is spread around. All you need is wax leaves, a wick, a sharp knife, and a safe cutting board.

  • In cooking

Waxes are used to mold and give flavor. Many confectionery contains wax. In addition, the wax is used for a dessert crunchy called canelés, which is a French pastry.

  • As Itching Remover

You can use beeswax to soothe itches from poison sumac, poison oak, and some other causes. Boil 1 tablespoon of bird grass powder, 1 tablespoon of comfrey and half a liter of organic olive oil in a small pot for 3 hours on a light fire. Then strain the mixture and add about 60 grams of wax. You can pour it into cream boxes and use them.

  • As Pain Relief

Beeswax can be used as an effective pain reliever. Slowly cook 1 tablespoon of bird grass powder, one tablespoon of wormwood powder and 1 liter of sweet olive oil in a small pot for 3 hours. After straining, add 90 grams of beeswax and 10 drops of tea tree (Indian laurel) oil.

  • To Open Drawers Easily

If you have an old but nice office, you may have trouble pulling drawers. If you apply the wax on the rails where the drawers enter and exit, you will get the slipperiness of the first day. Similar methods can be applied to the hinges of creaking glass doors.

  • Sealing Your Envelopes

Would you like the invitations you prepared for various invitations to make a difference? You can melt the seal made from beeswax on the cover of the envelope, seal it with a special stamp and shape it.

  • For Polishing

The natural shine of wax is perfect for polishing metal, wood, and concrete surfaces. Beeswax protects surfaces and prevents contact of water or other abrasive elements with the article. Beeswax can also be used as a preservative for leather-made accessories such as shoes and belts. Beeswax keeps products made of leather moist, soft and supple. It increases their service life by preventing them from drying and cracking.

Best Natural Wax Products That You Can Buy Online

  • EricX Light Beeswax Bars 7oz,1oz for Each Beeswax Bars, Pack of 7 Beeswax Bars Cosmetic Grade (Price: $6.65)

  • All Natural, Cosmetic Grade White Beeswax PELLETS PASTILLES 1 LB (16 oz). Best Price, Bulk, Grade A, Triple Filtered Ideal for DIY Skincare, Candle Making & Lip Balm Projects (India. (Price: $8.98)

  • XYUT Organic Beeswax Pastilles – White, Filtered Pellets Easy to Measure – Use to Make Candles, Lotions, Salves, Balms, and Other Recipes – 16 oz (Price: $10.99)

  • YIHAN White Beeswax Pellets, Organic, 2 LB (Price: $15.99)

  • Futurelove Wood Seasoning Beewax – Traditional Beeswax Polish for Wood & Furniture, All-Purpose Beewax for Wood Cleaner and Polish Wipes – 2020 New Furniture Care Multipurpose Natural Beeswax(85g) (Price: $4.33)

Savaş Ateş

I like eating honey a lot. We have a huge interest in bees and how they make honey. I have visited honey farms. I have talked to a lot of honey sellers. I read a lot of books about them. I want to share my knowledge with you.

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