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The Benefits of Bees Wax


Beeswax is synthesized de novo by honey bees in four pairs of glands located on the ventral side of the abdomen. Bees use the wax as their primary building material for making combs for rearing their brood and for storage of honey and pollen. Beeswax is composed of a variety of monoesters, diesters, hydroxylated esters, hydrocarbons, and free fatty acids. This composition distinguishes the material as a wax rather than a fat because it is composed mostly of esters and long chained hydrocarbons, classic wax components. Triglycerides and diglycerides, typical of fats, are missing.
 
The chemistry of the beeswax components is ideal for the uses of it by both bees and man. These components, and the wax itself, are not soluble in water (or honey), repel water soluble materials, remain strong to temperatures of 50 C, are reasonably flexible, and are not readily degraded or decomposed by moisture or microorganisms. The strength, flexibility, and waterproofing qualities of beeswax have made it an excellent material for polishes, finishes, and waxes that preserve, add shine, and generally enhance products coated with it.
 
Beeswax stability also makes it an excellent wax for addition to cosmetics and skin products. Historically, beeswax was an excellent material for making molds for castings; indeed, even today we have artifacts over 3000 years old that were produced by the lost-wax process. Beeswax also burns with a clean flame and produces a pleasant odor. This, plus the resistance of beeswax to degradation, has made it ideal for use as candles. The stable, flexible, and preserving properties of beeswax are good for use as waxes for musical instrument strings, skis, archery, and a variety of other specialty uses. Finally, the flexibility, safety, stability, and ability to accept colors of beeswax has made it a prime material for modern crafts and hobbies for both children and adults.
 
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