What is Beeswax?
Beeswax is the building material of the
Honey Bee. It is produced from four pairs of glands
situated under the abdomen of the worker bee. The
beeswax is produced by the bees when they are gathering
nectar and is used to build the honey comb in which the
nectar is stored.
Why is most beeswax yellow?
Pure beeswax is white in colour but most
people will be more familiar with yellow to orange
coloured beeswax. The colour is due to natural staining
from pollen and propolis gathered when the bees are
producing the beeswax. The beeswax colour will vary
depending on the type of nectar source that the bees
How is beeswax
Beeswax is produced as a by-product of
producing bulk honey from managed beehives in Apiaries.
The beekeepers harvest the full combs of honey from the
beehives and take them back to their processing facility
(commonly called the Honey House). Here the beeswax cappings that the bees have sealed the full cells of
honey with, are removed using an uncapping machine.
This exposes the honey ready for extraction from the
comb by use of a centrifugal extractor. The resulting
raw cappings are separated from the honey and are then
melted and cast into blocks, usually by the beekeeper.
For every 1000 kgs of bulk honey produced, there is
approx 18 kgs of crude cappings beeswax produced as a
Composition of Beeswax.
Beeswax is a complex substance consisting
of Monoesters, Hydrocarbons, Diesters, Free Acids,
Hydroxy Polyesters, Unidentified components, Hydroxy
Monoesters, Triesters, Acid Polyesters, Acid Esters,
Shelf life of Beeswax.
Pure beeswax whether in blocks or Comb
Foundations, has an almost indefinite shelf life if
stored in cool dry conditions. Samples which are
thousands of years old have been tested and found to
have almost identical properties to freshly produced
beeswax. It is not attacked by insects or wax moths (wax
moths only attack beeswax containing impurities).
This is a powdery appearance which
naturally forms on the surface most beeswax after a
period of time. The time it takes to appear depends on
the storage conditions. If stored above 15 deg C, bloom
will take some months to appear if at all. Bloom can be
removed by warming the beeswax. Bloom has no
detrimental effect on the beeswax. Comb foundations
which have bloom on their surface are readily accepted
by the bees with no effects.