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All about Beeswax

Little Bees Beeswax Bars Eugene Oregon

How is beeswax made? 

Beeswax is produced by eight glands on the abdomen of worker honey bees (genus: Apis). They metabolize sugar from honey into this waxy substance. While it is not known for certain, it’s estimated that it takes 8 lbs of honey to produce 1 lb of beeswax. 

Initially, beeswax is clear and colorless, but as it is chewed by the hive worker bees and mixed with pollen and propolis, it begins to turn opaque and yellow. Worker bees use beeswax to build honeycombs to store their honey. They cap each honey-filled comb with beeswax. When beekeepers harvest honey, they cut off these caps, and this is how high-quality commercial beeswax is produced. 

Beeswax can range in color from light yellow to a light brown depending on purity, region and the forage of the bees (although brown beeswax can also be burnt beeswax).

Fun facts about beeswax:

Beeswax never goes bad because it contains a substance called propolis, derived from the Greek words pro- meaning “defense of the” and polis- “city”. Created by combining bee spit, beeswax, and substances secreted in tree buds, sap, and other botanical sources, propolis is a thick, green substance bees use to seal small openings in the beehive. 

Thought to be anti-fungal, anti-microbial, anti-viral, and anti-inflammatory, propolis contributes to beeswax's benefits. 

Humans have used beeswax for many creative purposes throughout time: it’s been used in encaustic paintings, as a waterproofing agent, an ingredient in cosmetic products like lip balms, facial moisturizers, etc., and, of course, candles.

Over time, beeswax will produce a whitish, powdery coating called “bloom”. A completely natural process, bloom is the result of softer oils in the beeswax moving to the surface. It can be removed by gently wiping the candle or warming it with a hairdryer; however, this beeswax has not gone bad, and bloom will not affect the burning of a beeswax candle. In fact, candle bloom is a good sign. Only 100% pure beeswax candles will bloom, so if your beeswax candle never blooms, it’s not a pure beeswax candle.

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