Beeswax can be a good source of extra income for the beekeeper. Beeswax has very many uses. A lot of products we use in our daily lives have beeswax. You can actually make a lot of things using beeswax yourself, especially cosmetics and skin care products.
Types of wax
Beeswax is produced by the worker honeybees. The wax is secreted from wax glands on the underside of the bee's abdomen and is molded into cells which are filled with honey, then capped with more wax. When honey is harvested, the cappings or the top layer of wax that covers the cells must be removed from each cell.
There are two types of wax
- That used to make brood combs
- That used to cap the cells of ripened honey. This is collected in the uncapping tank during the process of harvesting the honey.
The second type is the most important. Because of its purity, this wax fetches a better price than the other types of wax and is utilized by the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries.
The wax from the brood comb, on the other hand is usually extracted from combs that are old (recognizable by their dark-brown color). These should be replaced from the hives since they attract pests and weaken the hive. Super combs can also be used for wax. This type of wax is used mainly for candles and as a lubricant for mechanical spare parts, for polishing and for making the wax starter (or foundation) sheets that are placed in the new comb frames.
The way to extract is through a wax extractor. There are many types but the solar wax extractor is the most popular with beekeepers as the energy source is free. This device is made of wooden or plastic box and is covered with a glass sheet on top. The extractor is placed in the sun and the internal temperatures rise to 62 – 640C. At this temperature the combs will start to melt. The extractor should be slightly inclined so that the melted wax will slide downwards and can be easily collected in a container. It is advisable to place the comb into a net positioned inside the wax extractor and held with a hook.
Another common extractor is the steam wax extractor. It consists of a water chamber that is heated by gas or electricity, in order to boil the water and create the steam. A collector and spout arrangement allows the molten wax and condensed steam to run out into a suitable collecting vessel. A skirt that deflects any molten wax into the collector is placed immediately above the spout collector pan to prevent molten wax from falling into the boiling water below. An upper chamber contains a mesh basket that holds the old comb or wax fragments that is to be melted.
Uses of beeswax
Other than skin care products, body lotions and face creams, beeswax has a lot other uses Here are 15 other uses of beeswax.
- As lubricant for oiling very old furniture joints.
- A regular component for mustache creams.
- To prevents bronze items from getting tarnished.
- To shimmer wrought iron furniture.
- Jewelers use beeswax as a lubing agent.
- As a glazing agent by cheese makers to cover their product from spoilage.
- As a natural conditioner for wooden products.
- To cake guitar bodies in order to boost their longevity
- Beeswax candles do not melt with ugly wax drips by their sides. They also produce no smoke.
- Certain popular candies are made using beeswax,
- Protecting Leather from destruction by water
- To polish granite counter tops to keep them shiny bright.
- to make crayons
- A mixture of palm oil and beeswax is the perfect combination for a soap cake.
- A natural and safe hair removing or waxing agent.