1. Structure of Beeswax
Beeswax is a bee product secreted by the wax glands in the last 4 pairs of abdominal rings of young worker bees of 2-3 weeks, solidified as a result of contact with the air when coming out of the abdominal rings, turning into scales, white when secreted and then darkening. Although wax does not dissolve in water, it dissolves in ether and chloroform. It is synthesized from carbohydrates found in honey. In order for bees to produce 1 kg of wax, they need to eat 6-10 kg of honey.
Wax-secreting bees eat honey first and then secrete wax by forming chain-shaped clusters at 35 degrees. The wax scales are transferred from the abdominal rings to the chin with the feet. The wax processed in the chin is used for knitting and making honeycombs.
In its chemical structure; alkali esters (72%), free fatty acids (14%), hydrocarbons (11%), free alcohols (1%), and unknown substances (2%).
Its melting temperature is 62-65 oC and its density is 0.95. Therefore, when dissolved, it collects on the water.
2. Beeswax production
It is a more important bee product than honey, especially in Africa, Central and South America. Beeswax production is traditionally done by dissolving the honeycomb crumbs in hot water, transferring the mixture to another container by straining, and obtaining the solid mass formed by the wax collected on the water after it cools. In addition, solar powered wax melting pots can also be used. Melting the browned old honeycombs and turning them into wax is a process that should not be neglected in terms of disease control.
3. Uses of Beeswax
Although beeswax is used in many different fields, it is mostly used in basic honeycomb construction and in the cosmetics industry. In addition, since candles lit in Catholic churches must contain at least 32% beeswax, it is also used in significant quantities in the candle making industry. Apart from these, beeswax; It is used in the pharmaceutical industry, in the production of polish, paint and varnish, in areas such as molding, dentistry and in providing waterproofing. Our country, which used to be self-sufficient in terms of beeswax needs, has started to import beeswax in recent years. It should not be forgotten that bee diseases such as American foulbrood and lime disease can spread to large areas both within and between countries, with basic honeycombs made of beeswax of unknown origin. In this respect, the wax to be used in the construction of the basic honeycomb must be sterilized for 12 hours at 110 degrees, as a mandatory provision of the “Beekeeping Regulation”. Beeswax should be 100% pure in terms of all usage areas and should not contain foreign materials such as paraffin, ceresin, resin and tallow.