Beeswax is produced by four kerogen glands located in the bee’s abdomen.
It is secreted is the shape of «scales» which the bees knead and mix with secretions of their salivary glands and then use it for the building of honeycombs and the sealing of the brood cells and honey cells.
Wax colour varies and depends on the 70 kinds of bee food and the age of the honeycomb.
Chemical composition of beeswax (Tulloch, 1980)
– Hydroxymethyl esters
– Acid esters
– Polyester acids
– Available acids
– Undetermined elements
There are no statutory quality control criteria for beeswax.
The International Honey Commission has proposed macroscopic, organoleptic and physico-chemical controls as well as analysis for drug residues.
The macroscopic and organoleptic criteria include the following controls:
Colour: from yellow to yellow-brown
Smell: Pleasant and reminiscent of honey
Chewing test: It should not stick to the teeth
Fragmentation test: When broken, the interior should be fine-grained and sharp-edged with no evedince of crystals.
Kneading test: When kneaded for ten minutes it should acquire plasticity.
Beeswax has been used as a drug to treat chronic mastitis, eczema, burns, dermatitis, folliculiis, papillomatosis and abscesses, and syria skin. Alongside ointments and various other pharmaceutical preparations, there is also a wax sprey that creates a thin layer on the wound. Beeswax is extensively used in dentistry as it was shown to control caries and strengthen the gums. Romanian scientists (Olariu et al, 1983) found that the wax bees use to cover mature honey (scaling) contains antibiotic and preservative substances with therapeutic properties.