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beeswax-5

Processed Beeswax

Today’s beekeeping vocabulary word is, “wax.”

 

From Wikipedia (edited):

Beeswax (cera alba) is a natural wax produced by honey bees of the genus Apis. The wax is formed into “scales” by eight wax-producing glands in the abdominal segments of worker bees, who discard it in or at the hive. The hive workers collect and use it to form cells for honey-storage and larval and pupal protection within the beehive. Chemically, beeswax consists mainly of esters of fatty acids and various long-chain alcohols.

Beeswax has long-standing applications in human food and flavoring. For example, it is used as a glazing agent, a sweetener, or as a light/heat source. It is edible, in the sense of having similar negligible toxicity to plant waxes, and is approved for food use in most countries and the European Union under the E number E901. However, the wax monoesters in beeswax are poorly hydrolysed in the guts of humans and other mammals, so they have insignificant nutritional value.[1] Some birds, such as honeyguides, can digest beeswax. Beeswax is the main diet of Wax moth larvae.

Beeswax has a relatively low melting point range of 62 °C to 64 °C (144 °F to 147 °F). If beeswax is heated above 85 °C (185 °F) discoloration occurs. The flash point of beeswax is 204.4 °C (400 °F).[9] Density at 15 °C is 958 kg/m³ to 970 kg/m³.

When natural beeswax is cold it is brittle, at room temperature it is tenacious, its fracture is dry and granular, it also softens at human body temperature.

Beeswax has many and varied uses. Primarily, it is used by the bees in making their honeycombs. Apart from this use by bees, the use of beeswax has become widespread and varied. Purified and bleached beeswax is used in the production of food, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals. The three main types of beeswax products are yellow, white, and beeswax absolute. Yellow beeswax is the crude product obtained from the honeycomb, white beeswax is bleached or filtered yellow beeswax,[11] and beeswax absolute is yellow beeswax treated with alcohol.[12] In food preparation, it is used as a coating for cheese; by sealing out the air, protection is given against spoilage (mold growth). Beeswax may also be used as a food additive E901, in small quantities acting as a glazing agent, which serves to prevent water loss, or used to provide surface protection for some fruits. Soft gelatin capsules and tablet coatings may also use E901. Beeswax is also a common ingredient of natural chewing gum.

Use of beeswax in skin care and cosmetics has been increasing. A German study found beeswax to be superior to similar barrier creams (usually mineral oil-based creams such as petroleum jelly), when used according to its protocol.[13] Beeswax is used in lip balm, lip gloss, hand creams, salves, and moisturizers; and in cosmetics such as eye shadow, blush, and eye liner. Beeswax is also an important ingredient in moustache wax and hair pomades, which make hair look sleek and shiny.

Candle-making has long involved the use of beeswax, which is highly flammable, and this material traditionally was prescribed for the making of the Paschal candle or “Easter candle”. This may be because beeswax candles are often purported to be superior to other wax candles, because they are meant to burn brighter and longer, do not bend, and burn “cleaner”. [14]It is further recommended for the making of other candles used in the liturgy of the Roman Catholic Church.[15] Beeswax is also the candle constituent of choice in the Orthodox Church.[16]

Top five beeswax producers (2012, in tonnes)
 India 23 000
 Ethiopia 5 000
 Argentina 4 700
 Turkey 4 235
 Republic of Korea 3 063
 World total
 

Beeswax is an ingredient in surgical bone wax, which is used during surgery to control bleeding from bone surfaces; shoe polish and furniture polish can both use beeswax as a component, dissolved in turpentine or sometimes blended with linseed oil or tung oil; modeling waxes can also use beeswax as a component; pure beeswax can also be used as an organic surfboard wax.[19] Beeswax blended with pine rosin, can serve as an adhesive to attach reed plates to the structure inside a squeezebox. It can also be used to make Cutler’s resin, an adhesive used to glue handles onto cutlery knives. It is used in Eastern Europe in egg decoration; it is used for writing, via resist dyeing, on batik eggs (as in pysanky) and for making beaded eggs. Beeswax is used by percussionists to make a surface on tambourines for thumb rolls. It can also be used as a metal injection moulding binder component along with other polymeric binder materials.[20] Beeswax was formerly used in the manufacture of phonograph cylinders. It may still be used to seal formal legal or Royal decree and academic parchments such as placing an awarding stamp imprimatur of the university upon completion of post-graduate degrees.

Source and to read more: Wikipedia