How do bees make wax?
Bees make honey - but where does the wax come from?
Animal behaviourist Eleanor Drinkwater got stuck into this question from our forum...
Eleanor - It's pretty adorable. So it also comes from the bees, so it's the youngest bees in the hive. Essentially what they do is they huddle together, they raise their body temperatures and then they start producing little tiny drops of wax from glands under their abdomen, and then the older workers can come and kind of harvest this wax from the younger workers, but it's incredibly costly to make. For about one gram of of wax, it takes about six grams of honey to produce, so it's very very valuable within the hive.
Chris - And so the bees have glands in their bodies that turn the energy in honey into wax, because wax is a hydrocarbon, you can burn it can't you? It's like oil. So how are they turning honey which is sugar into oil
Eleanor - With difficulty. And the interesting thing too is about the fact that they lose this ability as they get older. So it's only within these glands that they can do this, and it's only within a certain period of this animal's lifecycle which is really cool.