The Benefits of Beeswax
Beeswax is the critical building component for honey bees when it comes to making their hive. They create the hexagon honeycomb structure that we are all familiar with to store honey and pollen as well as raise baby bees. If you’re curious about honeycomb check out this blog post – Honeycomb Perfection. Young worker bees secrete wax flakes from glands under their abdomens. They then chew the flakes and shape them into comb. Depending on the time of year and the nectar flow there could be hundreds to thousands of bees making wax in a hive. Most wax harvested by beekeepers comes from comb used to store honey as this is the lightest wax and least needed by the honey bees.
There are many amazing aspects of beeswax, and it’s likely that you’ve used many products containing this amazing compound. Perhaps the earliest human use for beeswax was candle making. One of the first references to beeswax candles is as far back as 40 BC during the Han Dynasty. The use of beeswax for candles became more common during the Middle Ages as a pleasant smelling alternative to tallow. Unfortunately at that time, only the wealthy and churches could afford beeswax. In fact, many churches had their own apiaries to produce the beeswax needed to make candles.
Today, beeswax is still used extensively in candles and is preferred by many for it benefits over other materials. Beeswax burns cleaner than other forms of wax, without black soot, and produces negative ions that actually clean the air by bonding to dirt particles and making them too heavy to float. They have long burn times and are almost drip-less in a draft free environment. It’s hard to beat the smell of warm beeswax. And while they don’t put out as much odor as a scented candle, you avoid the burning of artificial fragrances and dyes in your home.
Aside from candles, beeswax can be found in skin and beauty items as well as products around the home. For skin care, beeswax is an ideal ingredient. Beeswax provides a protective barrier for the skin while still allowing it to breathe. Petroleum based products simply seal off the skin and can clog pores. Beeswax also contains Vitamin A and is a humectant, which means it draws moisture from the air to the skin. There have been some studies showing that beeswax may also have anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties.
While we think of honey bees for their amazing pollination efforts and delicious honey, their beeswax is surprisingly critical in many facets of our lives. As a sustainable and renewable resource, be sure to seek our beeswax products whenever possible!