Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Beauty of Beeswax

Pure Colorado Beeswax gives these lotion bars 
their beautiful yellow color.

Beeswax is magical, gold goodness created by tiny keepers of the flowers. The bees buzzing through the gardens are always welcome here. Considered by many to be a by-product of the bees' true missions of pollination and making honey, beeswax can be just as important to our health as the sweet, slippery golden honey that we use in our foods, medicine and skincare. Beeswax is also a necessary building block for the bees themselves, using it to build the combs which honey is stored, young bees are raised, and pollen is kept.

Seeing bees collecting pollen in the garden or 
out in nature always makes me happy.

Bees gathering pollen must fly the equivalent of 6 times around the earth to produce 1 pound of beeswax. Thinking of the enormity of that number makes one realize just how amazing the abilities of bees and other creatures of nature are. Such small insects perform feats that we as humans would not be able to do. Have you ever seen the animated film "The Bee Movie"? If you haven't you should watch it just for all of the amazing insights into the world of bees. Honey and beeswax in their pure, unfiltered state are so helpful to our health. Beeswax for your skin helps retain moisture, provides a protective coating from the elements, and provides glide and smoothness for lip balms, butters and glosses. 

100% pure melted beeswax from Haefeli's Honey Farms, 
a small honey company located near 
the Great Sands Dunes National Park in Colorado.

Pure beeswax has a lovely golden color and a characteristic beeswax smell. I purchase my beeswax from Haefeli's Honey Farms in large chunks and then melt it down and pour it into small muffin tins for easier use when creating my lip balms, lotion bars, salves and other products. The whole workshop smells amazing when I do this, much like burning several beeswax candles all at once. I admit I tried beeswax pellets a few times for convenience, but they just can't compare to the pure gold beeswax I get from my own state and these very fine beekeepers. 

The beeswax "muffins" after they harden and 
I take them out of the pan. Each weighs between .3 - .6 oz. 
which are perfect when creating my blends.

There is sometimes controversy about using beeswax in products, especially for vegans. Being that beeswax is a by-product of bees and bees are "animals", it's thought that if you are vegan you are using an animal by-product. I'm not sure that I agree with that but to each their own. Bees are insects which just happen to create beeswax while doing their most important job of pollinating our plants and making honey. That is their purpose in life. If honey bees didn't pollinate then many of the fruits, vegetables and grains that people eat would not be available. Just as we build places to live and work, so do they build their own complex hives made partly out of beeswax. Bees are workers of magic and I believe their gifts of honey, propolis and beeswax make our lives so much sweeter and healthier. What do you think? Are you a beeswax lover like me? You can make your yard and garden more "bee friendly"by checking out some of the articles and ideas we have at Beautiful Wildlife Garden where I hope you'll join me.

If you would like to see the bees in action, here is a short video I took last summer. You can here the birds in the background, see the beautiful flowers and drink in the sunshine. Enjoy!

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