Friday, January 14, 2011

Beeswax- It's the Bee's Business

When beekeepers extract honey, they also harvest the beeswax.  But where does this beeswax come from?  Beeswax is created in the worker bee's wax glands on the underside of her abdomen.  It comes out in tiny little chips that they mold together to make the hexagon honeycomb cells- they create their entire homes out of beeswax!  They also cap the honey over when it is ready.  These cappings are what the beekeeper keeps.

What can we use beeswax for?  Lots of things- here's a few: 

Candles: Beeswax candles are one of the biggest uses.  These special candles are used in homes and churches because they burn slower and brighter and don't drip.  Root Candles in Medina, Ohio is a company that uses beeswax, and sometimes it's a very long process to get from the beeswax to a candle used at your dinner table.  Here's a picture of candles being dipped. 

Cosmetics:  Beeswax is now used in many lotions and lip balms because it is a natural product that helps to seal in moisture.  Check your chapstick- maybe it contains beeswax!

Other Uses:  Your mom or dad might use beeswax to help dresser drawers slide better or even in their furniture polish.  We can use beeswax all around the house- some crayons even have the honeybee's hard work in them!

"Bee in the Know":  Many churches only use beeswax candles because they don't leave a smoky residue on the statues and windows.

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