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Beeswax

beeswax hive

Beeswax is a natural material produced by the honeybee (Apis genus) and can be white, yellow or brownish depending upon the type of pollen used (based on region) and other impurities. The wax is collected from an old hive or the fallen wax caps (one per honeycomb cell) which are either removed by the honeybee to access the honey or by the beekeeper that is harvesting the honey.

Yellow beeswax is in its most natural form. It was heated and filtered to obtain the yellow beeswax. White beeswax has been processed a bit more. It is also heated, but then pressure-filtered to remove more of the particles that form the yellow tint. The creamy white wax can also be ‘bleached’ by placing thin pieces of the wax in the sun (not a chemical bleach). This causes the creamy white wax to become whiter.

Beeswax is a natural preservative (antifungal, antibiotic) and eco-friendly. Beeswax is a complex mixture of at least 300 different compounds. Waxes, in general, are fatty acid esters (also called monoesters) – a fatty acid attached to a long carbon chain. The fatty acid part of the ester is mostly C16:0, C16:1, C18:0 and C18:1. The other part of the ester, the alcohol, is usually 30 to 32 carbons long. Other components in beeswax include long chain carboxylic acids (26 carbons long, Cerotic acid, or hexacosanoic acid), diesters, triesters, hydrocarbons and (long chain) alcohols.