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Lee's Bees Beeswax Candles

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Pure Florida BeesWax - Lee's Bees
It all begins on a flower in the field. Bees collect nectar from the flowers and bring it to the hive where it becomes either beeswax or honey. A bee's diet consists primarily of honey, and any honey not consumed by the bees or in the raising of brood is stored as surplus and is ultimately consumed in the winter months when no flowers are available. It is the other use of honey that is of interest to us here: the conversion into beeswax. The production of beeswax is essential to the bee colony. It is used to construct the combs in which the bees raise their brood and into which they store pollen and surplus honey for the winter.

Worker bees, which live only around 35 days in the summer, develop special wax-producing glands on their abdomens and are most efficient at wax production during the 10th through the 16th days of their lives. The bees consume honey (6-8 pound of honey are need to produce a pound of wax) causing the special wax-producing glands to covert the sugar into wax which is extruded through small pores. The wax appears as small flakes on the bees' abdomen. At this point the flakes are essentially transparent and only become white after being chewed. It is in the mastication process that salivary secretions are added to the wax to help soften it. This also accounts for its change in color.

Beeswax becomes soft and very pliable if the temperature is too high (it actually melts at 149 F). Likewise, it becomes brittle and difficult to manage if the temperature is too low. However, honeybees maintain their hive at a temperature of around 95 degrees Fahrenheit which is just perfect for the manipulation of beeswax: not to hot to be at the point of dripping and not to cold to so as to be brittle.

A honeycomb constructed from beeswax is nothing short of a triumph of engineering. It consists of hexagon shaped cylinders (six-sided) that fit naturally side-by-side. It has been definitively proven by mathematicians that by making the cells into hexagons, it is the very most efficient: the smallest possible amount of wax is used for the volume of honey it contains. It has also been shown to be one of the strongest possible shapes while using the least amount of material. The color of beeswax comprising a comb is at first white and then darkens with age and use. This is especially true if it is used to raise brood. Pigmentation in the wax can result in colors ranging from white, through shades of yellow, orange, and red all the way to brown. The color has no significance as to the quality of the wax. Formerly, wax was bleached which resulted in the inclusion of undesirable compounds in the wax. Bleaching has now been abandoned by reputable candle manufacturers and other suppliers of beeswax.

If beeswax has a medicinal smell, chances are that it has been chemically altered or bleached. Here, at Lee's Bees, the home of premium Florida beeswax, we only use North American beeswax that is 100% pure. Smell one of our candles for proof of its purity!


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