Mind Your Beeswax

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What is beeswax? What makes it a natural, renewable resource?

Beeswax is a substance secreted by worker honeybees from four pairs of glands on the underside of their abdomens, and it is used for the construction of the honeycomb. Young worker bees secrete droplets of wax called "scales". One pound of beeswax consists of approximately 800,000 scales. Bees must consume 8 to 10 pounds of food stores to produce one pound of beeswax.

Beeswax will, in time, become coated with a whitish material called wax bloom. This is proof that the beeswax is pure. On pure beeswax candles, the whitish bloom appears and continues to increase over a period of time, producing an attractive frosty appearance. Some people like the exotic appearance that bloom gives candles, and store their beeswax to cultivate its development. It can, however, easily be removed by rubbing with a soft, dry cloth or by gently warming the surface of the candle. Bloom has no effect on the way a candle burns. In fact, when foundation coated with bloom was introduced into beehives, it was readily accepted by the bees.