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Beeswax is one of the oldest sources of artificial light and today is still the most natural candle material. The lovely fresh scent, a long burn time and the natural origins of beeswax make it the preferred candle for many types of people from the Catholic Church to environmentalists.
Beeswax is literally created by honeybees from honey which is made from flower nectar. High quality pure beeswax candles are made from the melted and filtered caps that seal the honeycomb and the honeycomb itself. The wax is produced by worker bees from glands on the ventral side of the abdomen. It is clear when produced but stained yellow from contact with pollen and honey. Honeybees consume 6-8 pounds of honey to produce one pound of beeswax.
Bees store honey in the hive on frames that hold the honeycomb filled with honey and sealed with wax called cappings. When the flames are removed the cappings are scraped off and set aside. The honey is then removed by spinning or in some cases crushing the comb. The honey is filtered and bottled. The remaining wax is either placed back into the hive to collect more honey or melted for use as beeswax. The wax is heated, filtered through fine mesh and poured into molds. Nothing is added to a 100% pure beeswax candle.
There are many benefits to choosing pure beeswax candles over paraffin (a sludge and waste product from the refining of petroleum) candles. Beeswax candles burn clean; unlike paraffin they do not contain any additives or synthetic chemicals. Cheap paraffin candles leave behind black soot from smoke as they are burned. The soot can damage furniture and irritate sensitive people. If the wick is the wrong size, wrong type or off center the candle will burn unevenly and liquid wax will drip and pool around the candle, potentially damaging its surroundings or even causing burns.
When the beeswax candles burned correctly, with a trimmed wick and in a draft free zone beeswax candles are smoke free, soot free and drip free. When burned they emit negative ions, thought by some to clean the air and prevent problems with asthma and depression.
The higher cost of beeswax candles can be off-putting but a much longer burn time makes them a more economical choice than paraffin. Beeswax candles organic also burn brighter. They are often available without any added chemical scents or colors. This makes them ideal for people with chemical sensitivities or allergies. Beeswax itself has a subtly honey or floral scent even when it is not burning. The color of the wax ranges from pale buttery yellow to deep golden yellow based on the pollen used by the bees to produce the honey and wax.