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Author Topic: Bees make honey - but where does the wax come from?  (Read 6051 times)

blakestyger

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Since the interest created by the recent "How do bees make honey?" enquiry was so expertly answered I wonder if anyone could tell me where the wax in the honeycomb comes from.


 

sooyeah

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Bees make honey - but where does the wax come from?
« Reply #1 on: 15/06/2008 19:36:12 »
The worker bees make it. It's I believe like a form of saliva- I will find out how exactly they make it a bit later and give you a proper answer tomorrow.

By the way before I go the bee keepers actually put plates of wax in the hives so the bees can build off of them, it stops the hives becoming a tangled mess.
« Last Edit: 15/06/2008 19:38:10 by JOLLY »
 

sooyeah

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Bees make honey - but where does the wax come from?
« Reply #2 on: 17/06/2008 13:20:04 »
Here you go it's all listed in the pages below.

Look here for wax:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beeswax

Here for 'Propolis' a substence used by the Bees to protect the hive from moisture etc. It's like a glue. They do not make it:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Propolis

 

blakestyger

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Bees make honey - but where does the wax come from?
« Reply #3 on: 17/06/2008 20:08:16 »
Thank you - very much.

We were talking about this in the conservation group I work with on Sundays and nobody knew; now we all will.
 

Offline turnipsock

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Bees make honey - but where does the wax come from?
« Reply #4 on: 18/06/2008 21:46:21 »
Beekeepers make foundation from old beeswax in a mould. This is usually given extra strength by adding wire. The foundation sheets then get fitted into frames and the bees continue to make this into a comb by building on both sides. The wire is fitted to give the comb strength so that it doesn't break during the extraction process.



Here you can see the foundation in the frame and some parts were the bees have started to build on it.

Eventually the comb will be completed and the cells filled with honey like this one from the Turnipsock Apiary



The reason all this is done is to make it possible for the beekeeper to extract the honey easily. The uncapped combs, with the honey removed, can be reused several times.

If the bees were left to their own devices, they would make the centre section themselves and the build the comb in an irregular pattern making the honey difficult to remove.

Young bees have glands that produce wax which is logical as they spend the first few days of their lives within the hive.
 

Offline rosalind dna

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Bees make honey - but where does the wax come from?
« Reply #5 on: 18/06/2008 22:53:01 »
Turnipsock, I had always thought that when a beekeeper collected
the honey and comb from his bees that they had to put some kind
of protective garments on.

But as we can see from your photos that you are not clad in such garments. Is that right??
 

Offline turnipsock

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Bees make honey - but where does the wax come from?
« Reply #6 on: 18/06/2008 23:25:31 »
It's not me in the first picture. Usually everything is protected and you can wear gloves if you want, but they keep getting caught under frames and stuff. If the bees do sting the gloves, then a pheromone is emited at the point of the sting. The next time you use the gloves, the bees will just sting the same area even though you haven't provoked them so it better not to use gloves.

Anyway, bee venom is good for you.
 

blakestyger

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Bees make honey - but where does the wax come from?
« Reply #7 on: 20/06/2008 20:06:01 »
Thanks turnipsock - pictures especially useful.
 

The Naked Scientists Forum

Bees make honey - but where does the wax come from?
« Reply #7 on: 20/06/2008 20:06:01 »

 

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