To make its honeycombs, the bee produces the wax.
The wax is composed of four pairs of cutaneous glands located in the abdomen and coming out of the abdominal rings. These wax glands are present only in female workers and reach their maximum activity between the 12th and 18th day of their life. The small plates produced are white and slightly transparent. The bees will also add carotenoids to this candle, which will give it a yellow-brown color.
Once a plaque is secreted (less than 1 mg), the bee lifts it with one of its legs, massages it and sticks it to other plates, thus building the honeycombs we all know. With 1 gram, 20 square centimeters of a honeycomb is made by bees. To produce wax the bee consumes honey. The biochemical process involved in this is complex and requires a lot of energy (imagine that to make a honeycomb of about 110 g, up to 2 kg of honey are consumed).
The honeycombs (with the hexagonal shape) of the honeycombs have such stability, uniformity and aesthetics that make the bee the best architect of nature. In addition, as bees are economical - because wax production requires a lot of energy as mentioned above - the geometric shape they choose provides the building with the greatest possible stability, with the least possible amount of matter.
The composition of the candle is very complicated. Each of the key ingredients is a combination of other simpler elements. It consists of:
Fatty acid esters with alcohols 70%
Free fat 14%
Free alcohols 1.2%
Water and other substances 2%
In external use, it was used as a healer and in the form of poultices in rheumatology.
In internal use, in the form of pieces in capsules, it has a beneficial effect in some cases of diarrhea or constipation. It also has anti-inflammatory properties.
Today, its use in the manufacture of cosmetics is very widespread..