Why Do Bees Make Beeswax?

A worker bee has 8 glands on its abdomen that produces wax in the form of scales.  These scales are placed in a hexagon pattern.  This hexagon pattern of wax is used to build the walls of a beehive.  Within the wax walls of the beehive, bees store honey and pollen (a protein source of food for the bees).  They also use the beeswax as a nursery for their young, and to seal their hives from water damage and other potential threats.

In this picture we see how the hexagon is the perfect shape to hold the bee’s honey without dripping.

 

Here we see that the bees have capped the honey with beeswax.  A bee will cap an individual hexagon cell when it is full of honey, storing it for use at a later date.

 

The final picture is a picture of what is called brood.  This is the hive’s nursery.  Once the queen lays an egg, it develops into a larva, then, depending on whether it will become a queen bee, worker bee or drone, it is fed royal jelly, honey and pollen in differing combinations.  Once the larva is large enough the cell it is in is sealed with wax until the larva changes into a fully developed bee.   The time from an egg being laid to a cell being sealed is 5 days.

 

It’s pretty amazing really.  A bee is genetically able to produce a material that it can build a home with, protect it’s young and store it’s food.  While we can’t do that, we do have something in common with the bee.  It still takes a community working together to build a society that is beneficial to all those involved.


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