Bees secrete liquid wax from wax glands. The wax scales are white and opaque, and have irregular pentagonal shapes. 1kg of beeswax contains about 4 million wax scales. Bees need 50 wax scales to build a worker hive, and 120 wax scales to build a male hive. A strong bee colony can secrete 2kg or more of wax scales to build nests in a spring and summer.
The colors are light yellow, medium yellow or dark brown and white. The section is in the form of crystals of tiny particles. Chewing sticky teeth, white after chewing, no oily taste. The specific gravity is 0.954-0.964, and the melting point is 62-67°C. Studies have found that beeswax is soluble in organic solvents such as benzene, toluene, chloroform, slightly soluble in ethanol, but insoluble in water, but under certain conditions, beeswax can form an emulsion with water.
The main chemical components of beeswax (beeswax) can be divided into 4 categories, namely esters, free acids, free alcohols and hydrocarbons. It also contains trace amounts of volatile oil and pigments. The components of yellow and white beeswax are basically the same. Beeswax is said to contain an aromatic colored substance called paramethoxin.
Only worker bees in the colony have 4 pairs of wax glands, while queen and drone bees have no wax glands. Wax glands are specialized by epithelial cells of the body wall. They are located on the last 4 segments of the worker bee’s abdomen, with a transparent chitin mirror membrane on the outside. When the wax glands secrete wax, the liquid wax secreted through the cell pores exudes to the mirror membrane, and after contact with air, it condenses into white transparent wax scales. Worker bees use their hind feet to poke wax scales, transfer them to their upper jaws through their forefoot, and mix into the secretion of the upper jaw glands through chewing. Under the condition of nest temperature, they become plastic beeswax, which is used to build nest houses.
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