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BEESWAX: Used in numerous industries for thousands of years - a true all-rounder

Aktualisiert: 18. Aug. 2020

Beeswax is produced by the wax glands of worker bees and is used to build honeycombs in the beehive. Beeswax is used in all kinds of fallows and products worldwide. Due to its high vitamin A content, for example, for skin care as the basis in cosmetic creams. Or as an additive and auxiliary in the food industry and pharmacy, in wood processing, as a polishing agent, as leather care and much more. Of course, also very classic in fragrant candles with beeswax. Beeswax is a true all-rounder.

How is beeswax made?

All worker bees are equipped with special wax glands that sit in eight pairs on the abdomen. In order for the bee to be able to produce the wax, the honey bee has to boost its fat metabolism and break down glucose and fructose in its body cells. Initially, the tiny wax plates are still white or transparent. The wax platelets get their golden yellow color from intensive kneading with the mouth tools and the incorporation of bee pollen and glandular secretions. The well-known yellow color only arises when the finished wax honeycomb is filled with nectar and pollen by the bees.

Bees have different functions and a different lifespan in the beehive. Only young bees are intended for wax production. So they start with the honeycomb production on their 12th day after hatching. The wax glands are generally only active in the 12 to 18 day old workers. These bees are also called "building bees".

It is really fascinating what the honeybee "learned" in the course of evolution. In other words, they produce their own building material for their dwelling, which is incredibly well thought out.

How does beeswax work?

The focus is on the antibacterial effect of beeswax. This is based on the traces of honey, bee pollen and propolis contained in the wax. Propolis, which consists of resins, essential oils and saliva secretions, is particularly known for its bactericidal and anti-inflammatory effects and is naturally incorporated into the wax by the honeybee. Since beeswax contains a relatively large amount of vitamin A, it is also used for skin care, for example in the form of creams or as part of a massage. The wax lies on the skin like a light protective film that absorbs the smallest water molecules from the ambient air and in this way supplies the skin with moisture. At the same time, vitamin A supports cell regeneration and has an anti-aging effect. Excellent effect: the skin is tightened, the elasticity is increased and wrinkles and stretch marks are reduced.

Where is beeswax used?

Pure beeswax (cera) is a water-insoluble natural product. One often sees the designation Beeswax or E901 on food products. Beeswax is used as an additive and auxiliary in the food, pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries.

  1. medicine / pharmacy

  2. physical therapy

  3. cosmetics industry (lipsticks, creams, etc.)

  4. additive and auxiliary in the food industry

  5. candle making

  6. woodworking

  7. polish

  8. famous wax figures by Madame Tussauds

  9. impregnation

The ingredients of beeswax

  • hydrocarbons (especially higher alkanes: heptacosane, nonacosane, hentriacontane, pentacosane, tricosane)

  • free fatty acids

  • fatty alcohol

  • ester compounds (single esters, double esters, other esters, especially from palmitic acid, oleic acid)

  • complex wax esters (diols)

  • vitamins (vitamin A)

  • exogenous substances (from pollen, propolis, flower components, impurities)

Can beeswax be "taken away" from the bees?

The beekeeper takes the honeycombs from the beehive to extract the honey. He then hurls the honeycomb and fills the honey. The remaining wax is usually melted down and cleaned in the process. Because there are doll shells, droppings and propolis residues in the old honeycombs of the bees, this cycle is a real advantage for the bees. The beekeeper takes the "old" plates, so to speak, and hangs new plates in frames with honeycomb plates back in the beehive. The bees can then create new honeycombs on this basis. A well-managed beekeeping supports the bees in their function by taking advantage of the bee products. In return, they give back all the necessary funds to the bees and thus contribute to the multiplication of the bee colonies and their species conservation.

A beekeeper preparing the honeycomb panels for the beehive. These honeycomb panels are hung back into the beehive in a wooden frame. (Height approx. 0.5 cm - the bee then fills the plates up to approx. 4-5 cm with your beeswax and forms the typical honeycomb)

A finished honeycomb. The honeycomb filled with honey is removed. It is easy to see how the white-capped honeycomb windows are filled with honey. (Height approx. 4-5 cm)

Beeswax in the ancient times

The secret of beeswax has been known for a long time. In the age of antiquity, beeswax was a real treasure and was used for a wide variety of purposes.

The Egyptians used it to embalm and mummify wealthy people and to seal their wooden ships. In ancient Greece, it was used to coat tablets. In Roman culture, beeswax was used to seal barrels and jugs and to maintain wooden figures.

It has also been used successfully as a binder in the manufacture of the papyrus precursor for thousands of years. And of course the classic that has proven itself for centuries or even millennia: beeswax as fragrant and light-giving candles!


Due to the German Medicines Advertising Act, we are not allowed to make any statements about possible or proven curative effects in the case of diseases. There have been numerous studies and traditions worldwide for many centuries. Thousands of scientists from different countries have now studied the compositions, properties, applications, contraindications and dosage instructions of bee products. We want to give you something to think about through our blogs about natural products, especially bee products. We assume that if we have piqued your interest, you will also use other sources of information (e.g. internet, book trade, trade magazines, ...) to gain extensive knowledge of natural and bee products. Please note that taking bee products does not replace a doctor's visit if you have health problems. Bee products can be used in addition to medication.

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