What is Beeswax? How is it made?

What is Beeswax? How is it made?

Beeswax is produced naturally by a variety of types of bees. Because beeswax is natural, many people are finding beeswax-based products to be their choice for skin care and cosmetics. From a rich vitamin A content to antioxidants, beeswax has what your skin needs to be vibrant and healthy. Its moisturizing and emollient properties bring to your skin the water and shine that it needs. Anti-inflammatory and antiseptic qualities help to heal acne and eczema, restoring the skin to a smooth texture. What is beeswax and how is it made?

The process begins in a field or forest of flowers brightly colored to attract the bees. Bees search out these flowers to harvest pollen and nectar from them. They will make most of this low-sugar nectar into high-sugar honey, but some will also be transformed into beeswax. The colony of bees could not survive without this beeswax because they literally build their honeycombs from it. Storing honey is essential to providing honey for the next generation of bees to consume and for the colony to have a future. The bees diligently put into the combs any honey that they don’t consume. These combs are hexagonal cylinders that are built first side by side and then back to back. The bees will store both honey and pollen in these combs, and the combs also serve as the place where the bees rear their brood.

When the collector bees return to the hive with their cargo of nectar, it is handed off to other bees that will actually turn it into wax. These bees eat the honey and nectar so that their bodies can process it into wax. Bees typically eat as much as 6 to 8 pounds of honey for each pound of wax they produce. Quite naturally it takes a lot of nectar to keep a bee colony supplied with the wax it needs. Soon after eating the nectar and honey, the bees’ abdomens begin to emit the wax as small flakes. The bees will then chew the wax to make it soft and malleable. Once the wax is workable, the bees will shape it into honeycombs. After filling the hexagonal chambers with honey, they cap the comb off with another dose of wax. Most of the beeswax that is harvested comes from these caps since harvesting the honey requires their removal.

Farmers typically use a hot knife to both warm up the cappings and slice them off the comb. The cappings fall into a basket and are collected. After a sufficient amount of wax has been harvested, it is melted (beeswax typically melts at 149 degrees). This melting process also allows the farmers to separate the wax from any honey that was on the wax. The honey sinks to the bottom allowing the lighter wax to rise to the surface. The wax is then poured into molds where it solidifies as cakes of wax. These cakes are then sold to various industries for manufacture into beeswax-based products. Of course, the wax is often further refined and purified before being used in household products. Typical products include candles, cosmetic creams and lotions, and lubricants.

The beauty of bees-wax based products is that they are naturally based. The properties needed to encourage healthy, vibrant skin come straight from the hard-working bees. Stores all across the world are stocking more and more beeswax-based products, and demand for beeswax is rising. The trend is a healthy and sustainable one as the bees continue to give us what we need for so many daily tasks.