One of the most interesting things about bees is their ability to produce wax and form it into honeycomb.
The nectar bees collect from flowers is carried back to the hive where it is processed not only into honey, but also wax. Bees use wax to make comb for storing honey, pollen or to raise baby bees. Worker bees have a special anatomy that includes wax glands on their abdomen. Bees will consume 6-8 pounds of honey to produce a pound of wax.
Wax is produced in a complex process. First it is squeezed out of the wax gland and in the form of flakes. Then bees chew it, and through the process of adding saliva, it turns to a soft yellow colored wax. Over time, wax in the hive can turn a darker color. This happens in the brood chamber due to the process of raising bees. Beekeepers only collect wax from the upper part of the hive, where the bees store honey. This is called a Super. No brood is born in the Super, and the color of the comb and cappings are a beautiful buttery yellow.
The hexagon shape of wax is no accident. This shape is the most efficient use of wax, using the least amount of wax to contain the highest amount of honey. It’s also a very strong shape when connected together, creating a stable structure for bees to build their home.
There are many uses for beeswax, including: