Living With Beeswax

Bee Wax Scale

Bee Wax Scale

For almost 2000 years, from the time of Aristotle to the late 18th century, it was widely believed that beeswax was a wax produced by plants and collected by bees much the way propolis (bee glue) is plant resin collected by bees for plugging holes in the nest. It was not until the late 17th century that wax scales on the abdomens of worker bees were described in writing by Martin John. One hundred years later, observations by peasant beekeepers reintroduced wax scales to the attention of scientists who tested the plant wax origin hypothesis. F. Huber observed the effect of diet on scale production and concluded that beeswax scales were produced from honey consumption. Bees fed pollen alone did not produce wax scales. It was only after extensive testing that the true origin of bees wax, the bees themselves, was discovered.

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is an Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
This entry was posted in Biomaterials, by jjneal. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Living With Beeswax

  1. Pingback: Living With Beeswax – Entomo Planet

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