Northants Bee Keepers Association

Northamptonshire Beekeepers' Association (NBKA) Registered Charity No. 295593


Northants Bee Keepers Association

Copyright © NBKA 2007-2018

Northants Bee Keepers Association

A member organisation representing beekeepers in the County of Northamptonshire



Beeswax is secreted by the worker honey bee and used to construct the comb on which it lives (pictured right). The wax is secreted by eight wax glands situated in pairs on the workers abdomen. The wax making bees fill themselves up with honey and hang in a cluster on the comb. As their temperature rises the wax is secreted into abdominal wax pockets as eight small translucent white cakes. These are transferred to the mouth where each is worked and manipulated to form comb, or passed to other bees to be used elsewhere. The wax is moulded into position by the mandibles of the workers and the comb is quite swiftly built up to the size required. The comb consists of hexagonal cells, built on both sides of a vertical wax partition. The queen lays her eggs in the bottom of the cell which are tended by the workers. The cells also contain the stores of honey and pollen.

It has been estimated that it takes 10,000 bees three days to produce 1lb. of pure beeswax – and to produce this they need to consume at least 6lb. of honey. One pound of honey requires 37,000 loads of nectar – the mileage flown by bees to gather this amount of nectar is approximately 50,000 miles.

A 1oz. block of wax requires a total journey of 18,750 miles or three quarters of the distance round the world.

The uses of beeswax are numerous and diverse – they range from church candles to extending the active life of penicillin in the bloodstream: from waxing thread and fly fisherman’s lines to the manufacture of Commando’s black camouflage face cream.

Experienced needleworkers have a piece of beeswax in their sewing baskets. From ancient times, thread has been waxed to make it stiffer and to give better holding properties. The wax in a Viking ship dated AD 900 was found with a ball of thread, partly waxed, for sail repairs.

Beeswax polish is still the finest way of preserving and caring for, in particular, antique furniture. Beeswax polish will give a deep shine to all types of wood and will protect and feed the wood at the same time – something no silicone polish can do. It also lasts longer than ‘ordinary’ polishes.



Click the buttons below for some Beeswax Polish and Hand Cream Recipes



Polish Recipes
Cream Recipes