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Posted by on Jun 20, 2016 in Tell Me Why |

Do Bees Collect Wax from Flowers?

Do Bees Collect Wax from Flowers?

Bees collect nectar, not wax from flowers. They turn the nectar into honey, and from the honey, produce wax. The production of beeswax is essential to the bee colony.

It is used to construct the combs in which the bees raise their brood and into which they store pollen and surplus honey for the winter.

Honeybees have special glands in their bodies that make wax. To make its wax, the honeybee eats some honey. The wax oozes from eight wax pockets on the underside of the bee’s abdomen. The wax appears as small flakes on the bees’ abdomen.

At this point the flakes are essentially transparent and only become white after being chewed. It is in the mastication process that salivary secretions are added to the wax to help soften it. This also accounts for its change in color.

The color of beeswax comprising a comb is at first white and then darkens with age and use. This is especially true if it is used to raise brood.

Pigmentation in the wax can result in colors ranging from white, through shades of yellow, orange, red, and darker all the way to brownish black. The color has no significance as to the quality of the wax (other than its aesthetic appeal).

The bee scrapes the wax off with its legs and builds the comb with its jaws. The honeycomb is made of many six-sided cells. Some cells are used as storage bins for honey and pollen. The queen bee lays her eggs in the other cells of the honeycomb.

Content for this question contributed by Andrew Butler, resident of Taunton, Bristol County, Massachusetts, USA