About Bees Wax
Beeswax has its origin in the honey consumed by the bees and transformed by them into a fatty matter through a process of digestion and secretion. It is an organic production, not a mechanical one.
Humans use it in cosmetics and pharmaceuticals, candles, polish, waterproofing and to make foundation comb for beehives. As a general guide, for each 60 kg of honey extracted from the hive about 1 kg of beeswax is produced.
The composition of beeswax is complex, but contains hydrocarbons, straight chain monohydric alcohols, acids, hydroxy acids, oils and other substances. Its specific gravity is less than one, so it floats on water. It melts at 63? to 65C and solidifies at 60C to 63C , depending on purity.
Beeswax is a voluntary secretion from the fourth to seventh ventral plates of the Bees abdomen. The wax originates in a liquid state in the wax secreting gland and is passed into depressed cavities, where it is molded into shape by the segment bearing down on it from above. This liquid solidifies and forms small scales about 3.0mm across and 0.1mm thick, which the Bees withdraw from the wax pockets.
Normally only young Bees of between 10 - 17 days old secrete these wax scales. However some older Bees can and do produce wax, dependant upon the state of their wax gland development. During the winter for example, physiological growth may be considerably retarded so that the glands develop slowly or not at all.
To produce wax, Bees must consume considerable quantities of Stores to enable wax secretion to take place. When building or repairing comb, the Bees hang vertically in festoons. The wax scales are picked off by their hind legs, then grasped by the forelegs. The wax scales are then manipulated in the mandibles where a strong salivary juice is added, hence rendering the wax more ductile, so that it can be positioned and molded as required. It is estimated that for 1lb of Wax produced by Bees, they consume about 10lb of stores. Therefore secretion of wax takes place during a heavy honey flow or when vast quantities of food are available. It is suggested that 1lb of beeswax consists of 500000 wax scales.
Pure beeswax, though usually pale yellow in color, is sometimes nearly white, and the difference in color is due to pollen consumed by the bees. Beeswax retains its ductility and tenacity under greater ranges of temperature than any mineral, plant or insect wax.
reference: 49000 Ukraine Dnepropetrovsk st. Lenskaya 10 Pure Beewax, http://beewax.by.ru/
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