Beeswax is a wax secreted by four pairs of wax glands in the abdomen of bees (worker bees). The bees secrete the liquid wax from the wax glands and the wax scales are white, opaque, and irregularly pentagonal. 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 drone hive. A powerful bee colony can secrete 2kg or more wax scales to build nest blanks in one spring and summer season.
Beeswax is in a solid state at room temperature and has a special fragrance of honey and powder. The color is light yellow, medium yellow or dark brown and white. The cross-section is crystallized with tiny particles. Chewing sticky teeth, white after chewing, no oily smell. The specific gravity is 0.954-0.964, and the melting point is 62-67°C. Studies have found that beeswax can be dissolved in organic solvents such as benzene, toluene, and chloroform, slightly soluble in ethanol, and 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. In addition, it also contains a small amount of volatile oil and pigment. The composition of yellow and white beeswax is basically the same. Beeswax is said to contain an aromatic colored substance called paraffin wax.
Beeswax is a fatty substance secreted by the abdominal wax glands of about two-year-old worker bees in a bee colony. In a bee colony, worker bees use the wax they secrete to build the honeycomb, ovary cover, and feed room cover. The comb is a place for bees to store food, cultivate bees and inhabit. Therefore, beeswax is not only a product of bee colonies, but also a necessary material for their survival and reproduction.
In the bee colony, only worker bees have 4 pairs of wax glands, and queen bees and drones have no wax glands. The wax glands are specialized from the epithelial cells of the body wall, located on the webs of the last 4 segments of the worker bee abdomen, and have a transparent chitin mirror membrane on the outside. When the wax gland secretes wax, the liquid wax secreted out seeps out onto the mirror membrane through the cell pores, and after contacting with air, it condenses into white transparent wax scales. Worker bees poke wax scales with their hind feet, transfer them to their mandibles through their fore feet, and mix them with the secretions of the mandibular glands through chewing. Under the conditions of the nest temperature, they become plastic beeswax for building nests.
The amount of wax secreted by worker bees is related to season, climate, age and feed. When the bee colony reproduces vigorously and the external honey powder is continuously adopted by the bees into the nest, the enthusiasm for wax secretion and spleen building is high. When secreting wax, the worker’s honey sac must be filled with honey juice first, and the honey juice undergoes a series of biochemical changes in the honey sac to become complex liquid wax and secrete it. According to measurements, worker bees need to consume more than 3.5kg of honey juice to secrete 1kg of beeswax. The beeswax glands of young workers are underdeveloped and do not have the ability to secrete wax to build a spleen; the bees that go out to collect bees and the old beeswax glands degenerate, and generally no longer secrete wax; only 13-18 days old beeswax glands are developed, and the wax is secreted the most; it is cold and secretes wax The amount is reduced; overwintering bees do not secrete wax.
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