How do bees make beeswax?

Posted by Kath Austin on

Beeswax is the original food storage system, storing honey for bees. Did you know to produce a pound of wax they need to ingest 6-8 pounds of honey? The British Bee Keepers Association estimate that bees need to visit an incredible 30 million flowers to produce a pound of beeswax. Read on to find out more about how they do it.

I wanted to share a little bit more about beeswax the incredible material we use to make BeeBee Wraps. Beeswax is essential to the honeybee colony, being used to construct the combs in which they raise their brood and store pollen and honey for the winter. Being designed for food storage it's not surprising that the beeswax in BeeBee Wraps keeps your food fresh for longer.

 Honeycomb bees

Female worker bees make the beeswax to build the honeycomb. Forager bees bring the nectar back to the hive in their honey stomach where it is passed from bee to bee to reduce the water content and become honey. To produce a pound of wax bees need to ingest 6-8 pounds of honey. The British Bee Keepers Association estimate that bees need to visit an incredible 30 million flowers to produce a pound of beeswax.

Female worker bees convert the honey to beeswax. Bees huddle together to increase the temperature in the hive to at least 33 C this enables the wax glands in their abdomen to convert the sugar from honey into beeswax which oozes through small pores to form scales on their abdomen. They or other hive worker bees chew these small scales to turn them into beeswax of the right consistency to build the comb. The wax scales are about 3 mm across and 0.1 mm thick. About 1100 scales are needed to produce 1 gram of wax.

Bees maintain the warm ambient temperature to ensure the wax can be worked into hexagon cylinders. This explains why your body heat helps to mould your BeeBee Wrap around your food. These natural engineers discovered that hexagons are the strongest and most efficient structure in which to store the honey. 

Local Beeswax

Beeswax is initially clear and becomes yellower/darker as it’s used to store honey, pollen and raise their brood. The colour of beeswax varies depending on the colour of the honey and its age. You can see the variation in colour of the beeswax we source from local hives to make your BeeBee Beeswax food wrap. Beeswax is naturally brittle when cold so we use a careful blend of organic jojoba oil and tree resin to keep your wraps soft and malleable and tacky.

Find out just how brilliant beeswax is at storing your food with your own BeeBee Wraps here

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