What Is Beeswax?
Beeswax is a secretion produced by worker bees in the family Apidae, but we most often associate it with honey bees (Apis mellifera). It’s composition is quite complex. Beeswax consists mainly of esters of fatty acids (fatty acids combined with alcohol), but over 200 other minor components have been identified in beeswax.
New beeswax is light yellow in color, mainly due to the presence of pollen, but over time it darkens to a golden yellow. Beeswax turns brown from contact with bees and propolis.
Beeswax is a remarkably stable substance that remains solid through a wide temperature range. It has a melting point of 64.5 degrees Celcius, and only becomes brittle when the temperature drops below 18 degrees Celcius. The honeycomb can therefore withstand the temperature fluctuations from season to season, which is key to the honey bee colony’s survival through the summer heat and winter cold.
How Honey Bees Produce Beeswax.
Young worker bees are charged with the task of making beeswax for the colony. Soon after a new worker bee emerges as an adult, it begins producing wax. Honey bee workers have four pairs of special wax-secreting glands on the undersides of their abdomens. From these glands, they secrete liquified wax, which hardens into thin scales when exposed to the air. As the worker bee ages, these glands atrophy and the task of making wax is left to younger bees.
During its peak wax production phase, a healthy worker bee can produce about eight scales of wax in a 12 hour period. The bee colony requires about 1,000 wax scales to make a single gram of beeswax for their comb. The geometry of the honeycomb allows the bee colony to maximize their storage space while minimizing the quantity of wax needed to build the structure.
How Bees Use Wax to Build Honeycomb.
After the soft wax hardens, the worker bee uses stiff hairs on her hind legs to scrape the wax from her abdomen. She passes the wax forward to her middle legs, and then to her mandibles. The bee chews the wax until it is pliable, and carefully shapes it into the hexagonal cells that make up the colony’s honeycomb. Worker bees use their mouths to measure the thickness of the honeycomb as they build it, so they know whether more or less wax is needed.
Uses of Beeswax.
Like honey, beeswax is a valuable commodity that beekeepers can harvest and sell for many commercial uses. Beeswax is widely used by the.
▪️cosmetics industry, in everything from lotions to lip balms.
▪️ Cheese makers use it as a coating to prevent spoilage.
▪️ Candles have been formed from beeswax since the 6th century.
▪️ Beeswax is even used in medicines (as a coating), electrical components, and varnishes.
Benefits of beeswax.
Bees manufacture beeswax for the purpose of storing the honey that they produce, and it is in the form of combs consisting of a group of hexagonal cells.Beeswax may contain more than just raw honey. It also contains some nectar and royal honey in its hexagonal cells, but in very small amounts.Beeswax has many different benefits, and this is a list of the most important benefits of beeswax as follows:
1. Protects the liver from diseases.
It was found that beeswax contains antioxidants that, when consumed regularly, help protect the liver from diseases.
Also, beeswax may help relieve symptoms in patients with cirrhosis, which makes beeswax a good choice for people with liver disease, but it must be taken regularly.
2. Moisturizes the skin.
Beeswax is a natural moisturizer for the skin, so beeswax is often included in skin care products, as beeswax helps treat cracks in the skin and lips, and helps lock moisture in the skin to protect it from drying out.
The benefits of beeswax for the skin are often attributed to the fact that beeswax contains vitamin A, which is known for its many and varied benefits for the skin.
3. Reduces stretch marks.
Because of the skin-moisturizing properties of beeswax, beeswax may have benefits in reducing the appearance of stretch marks.
Also, beeswax containing vitamin A effectively helps stimulate collagen production at the site of cracks, thus significantly reducing their appearance.
For an effective recipe for treating cracked skin, mix each of: royal honey, beeswax, coconut butter or shea butter, grape seed oil, and coconut oil, then apply the mixture to the chapped skin repeatedly.
4. Promotes heart health.
It was found that beeswax contains substances that help when ingested on the following:
▪️ Reducing harmful cholesterol levels in the human body, thus improving heart health.
▪️Raising levels of good cholesterol in the body.
▪️Expansion of blood vessels near the heart, reducing the chances of stroke.
▪️Therefore, heart patients are advised to eat beeswax, but in reasonable quantities in case of any harm.
5. Relieves cough in children.
One of the benefits of fresh beeswax that contains remnants of honey is that it may help relieve cough in children, especially as they are the group most vulnerable to respiratory problems and diseases of the upper respiratory system. This is because beeswax is rich in vitamin C.
But it is worth noting here that giving a child honey, or any of its various derivatives, before he reaches the age of one year may be a very dangerous matter and should be avoided.
6. Beeswax has other benefits.
The benefits of beeswax are not over, it has many other benefits, most notably the following:
▪️ It is used as a substitute for sugar, and is good in reasonable amounts for diabetics.
▪️Treats diaper rash, eczema and psoriasis.
▪️Treats acne and purifies the skin.
▪️Treats itching and various skin fungi.It protects from various infections and treats them, and relieves pain.
▪️Stimulates muscles to relax and calm down.
The benefits of beeswax resulted from the important nutrients present in it.
Beeswax is rich in antioxidants, carbohydrates, sugar, and honey residues, and it also contains some important nutrients from minerals and vitamins, and 95-99% of beeswax consists of sugar and water.
Debbie Hadley (6-2-2019), “How Honey Bees Make Beeswax”، www.thoughtco.com
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