What’s Wrong with Beeswax?

At first glance, beeswax might seem like the answer to everything. It’s natural, it feels good on the skin and it seems to be readily available. So what’s wrong with beeswax?

Bees—what’s the buzz about?

Honeybees are currently in a crisis. Last year, more than 40-percent of honeybee colonies were killed. The reasons given for what’s known as colony collapse disorder range from the varroa mite and parasites to terminator seeds and genetically modified crops (GMOs).[i] While the debate continues, the problem remains: the bees are dying. And we need the bees!

Why do we need bees?

A famous quote states, “If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe then man would only have four years of life left.” Often attributed to Albert Einstein, this was actually said by Nobel Prize winner Maurice Maeterlinck in The Life of the Bee. Albert Einstein said, “Remove the bee from the earth and at the same stroke you remove at least one hundred thousand plants that will not survive.”

No matter who said what, it’s a buzzkill. These smart people knew then that a future without bees would be devestating for humans. According to United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Executive Director Achim Steiner, “Of the 100 crop species that provide 90 percent of the world’s food, over 70 are pollinated by bees.”[ii] This is especially alarming when you consider bees are now on the endangered species list![iii]

Beeswax is not the bees’ knees!

Beeswax is often used as a natural alternative to petroleum-based products, but bees need their own beeswax! The reason they make beeswax is to produce comb for their young and to cap their honey to preserve it for the winter. It would be like someone taking away our ability to can and preserve food or create shelter for our families.

Some beekeepers also operate like factory farmers, creating bad conditions for the bees and not leaving the bees enough of their own honey. They supplement the bees’ diets with sugar water, which is leading to malnourished bees that are more susceptible to disease and pests. This is only making the colony collapse issue worse.[iv]

Bees don’t just spit this stuff out!

Technically, they sort of do that to make honey, but making beeswax is a little different. Every pound of beeswax is a labor of love. Worker bees make the wax using eight glands located on the inner part of their shield plates.[v] These bees have to fly the equivalent of six times around the earth to gather enough pollen to create a single pound of beeswax.[vi] Since these bees typically only live for about 40 days, they are working hard to help the next generation. How’s that for family responsibility!

What can you do to help the bees?

With the bees disappearing, they simply don’t have extra to share, and they can’t make honey if they are making beeswax. By looking for products that are beeswax-free, like Goddess Garden’s, you’re already doing a lot to help. If you want to do more, here are some you may want to try:

  1. Plant pollinators
  2. Reduce or eliminate pesticides since they can poison the bees
  3. Avoid GMOs
  4. Buy local, organically grown fruits and veggies
  5. Start a backyard hive

How Goddess Garden is helping the bees

At Goddess Garden, we don’t want to put unnecessary stress on our buzzing buddies. We’re doing our part to create alternatives that are free from petrochemicals and other harsh ingredients while also not adding stress to an already stressed species. That’s why our sunscreen sticks and lip balms use plant-based oils, butters and waxes, and are all beeswax-free! Join us in taking the sting out of skincare!

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[i] https://www.epa.gov/pollinator-protection/colony-collapse-disorder

[ii] http://archive.is/Zs7Au

[iii] https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2016/10/03/u-s-bees-were-just-added-to-the-endangered-species-list-for-the-first-time/?utm_term=.5301a1c76db4

[iv] http://www.peta.org/issues/animals-used-for-food/animals-used-food-factsheets/honey-factory-farmed-bees/

[v] Sanford, M.T.; Dietz, A. (1976). “The fine structure of the wax gland of the honey bee (Apis mellifera L.).”. Apidologie. 7: 197–207. doi:10.1051/apido:19760301

[vi] http://www.organicauthority.com/foodie-buzz/what-is-honeycomb.html

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