3 Beeswax


Beeswax

"For the rock song by Nirvana, see Beeswax (song). "Beeswax is a natural wax produced in the bee hive of honey bees of the genus "Apis". Beeswax is produced by young worker bees between 12 and 17 days old in the form of thin scales secreted by glands on the ventral surface of the abdomen. Worker bees have eight wax-producing mirror glands on the inner sides of the sternites (the ventral shield or plate of each segment of the body) on abdominal segments 4 to 7. The size of these wax glands depends on the age of the worker and after daily flights begin these glands gradually atrophy. The new wax scales are initially glass-clear and colourless (see illustration), becoming opaque after mastication by the worker bee. The wax of honeycomb is nearly white, but becomes progressively more yellow or brown by incorporation of pollen oils and propolis. The wax scales are about 3 mm across and 0.1 mm thick, and about 1100 are required to make a gram of wax. [R.H.Brown (1981) Beeswax (2nd edition) Bee Books New and Old, Burrowbridge, Somerset UK. ISBN 0 905652 150]

Western honey bees use the beeswax to build honeycomb cells in which their young are raised and honey and pollen are stored. For the wax-making bees to secrete wax, the ambient temperature in the hive has to be 33 to 36 °C (91 to 97 °F). To produce their wax, bees must consume about eight times as much honey by mass. It is estimated that bees fly 150,000 miles to yield one pound of beeswax (530,000 km/kg). When beekeepers extract the honey, they cut off the wax caps from each honeycomb cell with an uncapping knife or machine. Its color varies from nearly white to brownish, but most often a shade of yellow, depending on purity and the type of flowers gathered by the bees. Wax from the brood comb of the honey bee hive tends to be darker than wax from the honeycomb. Impurities accumulate more quickly in the brood comb. Due to the impurities, the wax has to be rendered before further use. The leftovers are called slumgum.

The wax may further be clarified by heating in water and may then be used for candles or as a lubricant for drawers and windows or as a wood polish. As with petroleum waxes, it may be softened by dilution with vegetable oil to make it more workable at room temperature.

Physical characteristics

Beeswax is a tough wax formed from a mixture of several compounds.

The empirical formula for beeswax is C15H51COOC30H61 [cite book |last=Umney |first=Nick |coauthors=Shayne Rivers |title=Conservation of furniture |year=2003 |publisher=Butterworth-Heinemann |page=164 |language=English] . Its main components are palmitate, palmitoleate, hydroxypalmitate [http://www.lipidlibrary.co.uk/Lipids/fa_oxy/file.pdf] and oleate esters of long-chain (30-32 carbons) aliphatic alcohols, with the ratio of triacontanylpalmitate CH3(CH2)29O-CO-(CH2)14CH3 to cerotic acid [http://www.lipidmaps.org/data/get_lm_lipids_dbgif.php?LM_ID=LMFA01010026] CH3(CH2)24COOH, the two principal components, being 6:1.

Beeswax has a high melting point range, of 62 to 64 °C (144 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), there is no reported autoignition temperature. [cite web|url=http://www.sciencelab.com/xMSDS-Beeswax-9927322|title=MSDS for beeswax|accessdate=2007-10-23] Density at 15 °C is 0.958 to 0.970 g/cm³.

Bee wax can be classified generally into European and Oriental types. The ratio of saponification value is lower (3-5) for European beeswax, and higher (8-9) for Oriental types.

Hydroxyoctacosanyl hydroxystearate can be used as a beeswax substitute as a consistency regulator and emulsion stabilizer. Japan wax is another substitute.

Uses as a product

Beeswax is used commercially to make fine candles, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals including bone wax (cosmetics and pharmaceuticals account for 60% of total consumption), in polishing materials (particularly shoe polish and furniture polish) and as a component of modelling waxes. It is commonly used during the assembly of pool tables to fill the screw holes and the seams between the slates. Accordion makers use beeswax as an adhesive, when blended with pine rosin, to attach reed plates to the structure inside an accordion. Beeswax candles are preferred in most Eastern Orthodox churches because they burn cleanly, with little or no wax dripping down the sides and little visible smoke. Beeswax is also prescribed as the material (or at least a significant part of the material) for the Paschal candle ("Easter Candle") and is recommended for other candles used in the liturgy of the Roman Catholic Church.

It is also used as a coating for cheese, to protect the food as it ages. While some cheese-makers have replaced it with plastic, many still use beeswax in order to avoid any unpleasant flavors that may result from plastic. As a food additive, beeswax is known as E901 (glazing agent).

The burning characteristics of beeswax candles differ from those of paraffin. A beeswax candle flame has a "warmer," more yellow color than that of paraffin, and the color of the flame may vary depending on the season in which the wax was harvested.

Beeswax is also an ingredient in moustache wax, as well as dreadlock wax, and was used in the manufacturing of the cylinders used by the earliest phonographs.

As a skin care product 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. [cite journal
author = Peter J. Frosch, Detlef Peiler, Veit Grunert, Beate Grunenberg
year = 2003
month = July
title = Wirksamkeit von Hautschutzprodukten im Vergleich zu Hautpflegeprodukten bei Zahntechnikern - eine kontrollierte Feldstudie. Efficacy of barrier creams in comparison to skin care products in dental laboratory technicians - a controlled trial.
journal = Journal der Deutschen Dermatologischen Gesellschaft
volume = 1
issue = 7
pages = 547–557
doi = 10.1046/j.1439-0353.2003.03701.x
url = http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/abs/10.1046/j.1439-0353.2003.03701.x
language = German
accessdate = 1/12/2008
quote =

CONCLUSIONS: The results demonstrate that the use of after work moisturizers is highly beneficial and under the chosen study conditions even superior to barrier creams applied at work. This approach is more practical for many professions and may effectively reduce the frequency of irritant contact dermatitis.

publisher = Blackwell Synergy
]

Historical use

Beeswax was ancient man's first plastic, and for thousands of years has been used as a modeling material, to create sculpture and jewelry molds for use in the lost-wax casting process, or "Cire perdue".LOK Congdon (1985) Water-Casting Concave-Convex Wax Models for Cire Perdue Bronze Mirrors. American Journal of Archaeology, 89, 511-515]

Lost wax casting of metals, practised by ancient Greeks and Romans, involved coating of a wax model with plaster, melting the wax out of the resulting mould and filling the space with molten metal. The technique is still used today by jewellers, goldsmiths and sculptors, in dentistry and even in the industrial manufacture of complex components by investment casting of metals.

The Romans sent messages on hinged pairs of wooden writing tablets coated with beeswax, the message being written into the smooth wax surface using a stylus. After it had been read the message could be erased, and a reply written and returned.

Beeswax has been used since ancient times; traces of it were found in the paintings in the Lascaux cave and in Egyptian mummies. Egyptians used it in shipbuilding as well. In the Roman period, beeswax was used as waterproofing agent for painted walls and as a medium for the Fayum mummy portraits. Nations subjugated by Rome sometimes paid tribute or taxes in beeswax. In the Middle Ages beeswax was considered valuable enough to become a form of currency. It was also used in bow making (see English longbow).

More recently it found use as a component of sealing wax, and in cosmetics. Beeswax is also the traditional material from which to make didgeridoo mouthpieces and the frets on the Philippine kutiyapi, a type of boat lute.

Beeswax has been used for hundreds of years as a sealant or lubricant for bullets in cap and ball and firearms that use black powder. It is often mixed with other ingredients such as olive oil (sweet oil) and sometimes paraffin. It can be used as an ingredient in the bullet lube used primarily in Black Powder cartridge firing weapons.

The wax can be dissolved in turpentine and then used as a furniture finish, sometimes blended with linseed or tung oil.

Trivia

*The saying "Tis none of your beeswax" meaning "none of your business" became popular in the 1920s after being spoken by Nanette in the 1925 musical comedy "No, No, Nanette". Another saying is "Mind your own beeswax".Fact|date=April 2008
*"Beeswax" is the title of a song by the band Nirvana.

References

ee also

*Apis mellifera
*Ester
*Encaustic painting
*Paraffin
*Carnauba wax
*Bone wax
*Batik
* [http://www.apitherapynews.com/ Apitherapy News]

References

* [http://www.chemsoc.org/exemplarchem/entries/2001/loveridge/index-page4.html The chemistry of bees] Joel Loveridge, School of Chemistry University of Bristol accessed Nov 2005


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  • Beeswax — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda «Beeswax» Canción de Nirvana Álbum Incesticide Publicación 14 de diciembre de 1992 …   Wikipedia Español

  • beeswax — ► NOUN 1) wax secreted by bees to make honeycombs, used for wood polishes and candles. 2) N. Amer. informal a person s concern: that s none of your beeswax …   English terms dictionary

  • Beeswax — Bees wax , n. The wax secreted by bees, and of which their cells are constructed. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • beeswax — 1670s, from genitive of BEE (Cf. bee) + WAX (Cf. wax). As a jocular alteration of business (usually in an injunction to someone to mind his own) attested from 1934 in Lower East Side slang as reproduced in Henry Roth s Call It Sleep …   Etymology dictionary

  • beeswax — [bēz′waks΄] n. a tallowlike substance that honeybees secrete and use for building their honeycomb: it is used in candles, polishes, etc …   English World dictionary

  • beeswax — Wax Wax, n. [AS. weax; akin to OFries. wax, D. was, G. wachs, OHG. wahs, Icel. & Sw. vax, Dan. vox, Lith. vaszkas, Russ. vosk .] [1913 Webster] 1. A fatty, solid substance, produced by bees, and employed by them in the construction of their comb; …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • beeswax — /beez waks /, n. 1. wax1 (def. 1). v.t. 2. to rub or treat with beeswax. [1670 80; BEE1 + S1 + WAX1] * * * Commercially useful wax secreted by worker honeybees to make the cell walls of the honeycomb. A bee consumes an estimated 6–10 lbs (3–4.5… …   Universalium

  • beeswax — /ˈbizwæks/ (say beezwaks) noun 1. the wax secreted by bees, of which they construct their honeycomb; wax. –verb (t) 2. to rub, polish, or treat with beeswax. –phrase Colloquial (humorous) 3. be none of someone s beeswax, to not involve someone… …   Australian English dictionary

  • beeswax — [“bizwaeks] n. business; concern. (See also mind your own beeswax; none of someone’s beeswax.) □ Is this any of your beeswax? □ Tend to your own beeswax …   Dictionary of American slang and colloquial expressions

  • beeswax — noun 1》 the wax secreted by bees to make honeycombs, used in making wood polishes and candles. 2》 N. Amer. informal a person s concern: that s none of your beeswax. verb polish (furniture) with beeswax …   English new terms dictionary

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