Where Does Beeswax Come From?

Where Does Beeswax Come From?

Ever wonder where beeswax comes from? Well, hold onto your hat as Emma explores the origins of beeswax. You may be surprised about what she discovers, and where she goes with this new information. When you’re stuck in the middle of winter, and your lips are chapped, it can be hard to think about anything else. But what if there was a way to protect your lips from the cold weather? That’s where beeswax comes in! In this blog post, we will explore the origins of beeswax and how it serves as a seal for our lips in even the driest conditions. Read on to learn more about the magic of beeswax!

Where does beeswax come from? Photo credit Debbe Krape via honeybeesuite.com
Bee Secreting Wax Photo credit Debbe Krape via honeybeesuite.com

Beeswax is playing a bigger role in your life than you ever could have imagined. No matter how much Lip Balm you apply to your lips, they refuse to comply. Before you know it, those faint, little lines begin to reappear as winter’s cold air attacks, leaving your lips shriveled up like a prune. But, not to fear for beeswax actually serves as a seal for the lips, defending against air and anything else that could dry them out!

In recent weeks, we did our annual filtering at the Honey House.

Many don't know, though, that beeswax is used in cosmetic products such as Body Balm and Body Butter. It is also commonly utilized in candles, medicines, varnishes, electrical parts, and even as a coating for cheese to prevent mold. A lot of natural car waxes also contain beeswax. Beeswax can be used for many things, but where does beeswax come from?

Beeswax fresh from mold
Freshly drawn beeswax at our Honey House in Owings Mills, Maryland

Young honeybees are in charge of producing the wax. Beneath their “bellies,” the young honeybees have four special glands that excrete liquid wax, the way we humans sweat. Once exposed to air, the wax begins to harden. As the honey bees grow older, they lose this ability as their wax glands become inactive. Beeswax is an essential byproduct that the bees create for their hive: it's used to build a comb that stores honey and provides living space for new bees.

Beeswax is formed mainly of plant resins and, unlike some synthetic waxes, is safe to eat and use cosmetically. It has many industrial uses, from candle making to encaustic painting to food storage.

Beeswax holds the hive together.

Beeswax forms the main structure of a hive, holding everything together and providing a space for the bees to live and work. In a hive, all the bees work together to make life flow like honey: from worker bees who construct the comb to foragers who collect nectar and pollen, everyone has a job. I think we can learn a lesson from the honeybee and find a way to be more cooperative and resilient.

macro image of corner of honeycomb
Macro image of beeswax filled with honey. Raw honeycomb.

At first glance, the beeswax seems horrible, secreted from the underside of an insect!

However, if you take the time, it can become something useful like Lip Balm. And while lip balm definitely will not repair the world, it does solve chapped lips. You have to start somewhere.

Emma S. is guest blogging here for us at the Honey House while on winter break from college. We're so lucky to share her perspectives on bees, wax, love, and happiness.

Bee Culture

Where does beeswax come from?