Beeswax is a product of the wax glands of worker bees aged 12 to 18 days. Bees secrete wax from special glands located on their abdomen. The wax comes out colorless and brittle and with the help of the legs, the bee transfers it from the abdomen to the mouth where it starts to chew it and softens it by adding saliva. During this process, parts of honey, pollen, and propolis are added to the wax, which changes its color.
Bees consume about 7 kilograms of honey to produce 1 kilogram of wax.
In this way they create a building material with which they build a hexagonal honeycomb, where they store the honey and raise their young. Bees also seal with wax every cell filled with honey, maintaining the moisture level in the honey and protecting it from dirt and external influences.
If the percentage of moisture in the honey is high, then it will ferment and spoil.
The specific gravity of the beeswax is 0.94 – 0.96, which means that it floats on the surface of the water and it melts at a temperature of 62 – 64 ° C.
Beeswax is composed of more than 300 different substances. The main chemical elements that make up the wax are carbon (73.3%), hydrogen (13.2%) and oxygen (7.5%), fatty acids, saturated hydrocarbons, aromas, water and other minerals. The composition of the wax can change depending on some genetic characteristics of the colony or under the influence of the environment. When the honeycomb melts, the wax receives additional impurities like propolis, pollen, royal jelly and honey, which increases its beneficial bio-influence. Beeswax also contains smaller amounts of dyes and essential oils, which determine its color and odor.
Uses in cosmetics
Beeswax has antibacterial and antifungal properties, and contains natural moisturizers that make it especially suitable as a skin and lip balm. It is used for minor burns and other skin damages and helps in their faster healing. It is usually mixed with other substances such as honey, olive oil, calendula, ie in the production of lotions and creams for skin care, treatment of eczema, psoriasis and similar.
Can You Eat Beeswax?
One of the best ways to consume honey is directly from honeycomb, so the question almost always arises – is it safe to eat beeswax?
Beeswax is non-toxic and safe to swallow. In addition to honey, in the honeycomb there are also residues of propolis and royal jelly, so their consumption certainly has a positive effect on the body. Chewing honeycomb helps in cleaning and disinfection of the oral cavity, ie helps with periodontitis and tartar.
However, one should be careful about the amount of honey consumed, and since the wax itself does not have any positive effects on the digestive system, it is recommended now to swallow the wax and to spit it out.