View Full Version : Weird questions about beeswax...
08-27-2007, 08:54 PM
I read where it takes approxmately 8 lbs of honey to make 1lb of wax. OK, interesting enough. Does that also mean that wax - like honey....
1. Is digestible by humans?
2. Has calories and food value?
I told you they were weird questions. I guess I'm wondering if beeswax is just transformed nectar and pollen, just like honey. And if so, then the answer to both questions would be yes.
08-27-2007, 10:18 PM
If I remember correctly, no and no. It just passes through.
Bees of a certain age produce wax from special glands located in their abdomens. To produce the wax, the bees must consume a certain amount of honey for the raw materials needed for their bodies to produce the wax. I think of it sort of like ear wax. Our bodies produce ear wax for a specific purpose. I suggest that the wax has no nutritional value or calories. Some niche honey producers add wax cappings (or at least do not filter the cappings) to their product, calling it really raw honey. Some in the health food camp believe that the wax in honey has medicinal or special properties. Who am I to argue with what sells.
08-28-2007, 10:57 AM
I don't think wax is digestible but rather acts as fiber in the digestive track. IMO
08-28-2007, 11:01 AM
Beeswax does have calories. Because it's mostly lipids, it is very energy rich. That's one reason why it's so expensive for the bees to produce it and why it burns. It's really hard to find the energy content of beeswax on the internet for some reason, but I found a chemistry book that listed it as having 12.7 kcal/g (for a comparison, honey has about 3.1 kcal/g and paraffin wax has about 9.9 kcal/g).
Beeswax is "transformed" nectar but the bees transform the carbohydrates into lipids so it is entirely different from honey. (Much like we can produce prodigious quantities of fat from the HFCS in soda...)
However, as you suspected, beeswax is not digestible by humans, so the only way we can access the energy is by lighting a candle.
The honeyguides in Africa are able to digest wax with high efficiency (97%)(Downs et al. 2002; they also give similar energy contents for wax) and apparently specialize on eathing beeswax (enough to invade Catholic churches and eat the candles).
NW IN Beekeeper
08-28-2007, 11:43 AM
[The honeyguides in Africa are able to digest wax with high efficiency (97%)(Downs et al. 2002; they also give similar energy contents for wax) and apparently specialize on eathing beeswax (enough to invade Catholic churches and eat the candles).]
Genesis 1:3 And god said, "Let there be light," ....
and then cannibles came out of the jungle and ate his candles! :eek:
What is the world coming to?
08-28-2007, 12:43 PM
Oh, sorry, I forgot to clarify: honeyguides are birds. They guide honey badgers, baboons, and sometimes people to honey bee nests they find, wait for the animal they guided to finish wreaking havoc on the nest and distracting the bees, and then they eat their fill.
08-28-2007, 06:53 PM
>Does that also mean that wax - like honey....
>1. Is digestible by humans?
>2. Has calories and food value?
08-29-2007, 11:38 AM
No! It is not digestible and can in fact cause an intestinal blockage (call poison control) if you eat enough of it. No! Don't eat it for fiber.
It has the calories of what you leave in it when processing. Honey traces, etc.
Etc. means things like slumgum is high in protein and in tests has really proved a good feed for chickens. More color and flavor in the yolks and stronger feathers.
Human consumption should bee limited to very small amounts incidental to chewing the honey out.
Makes for some good jaw work outs. Flavor lasts a long time. Comb honey has been popular for so long a time. If it doesn't digest then it must have a weight control aspect.
I've never had adverse effects swallowing wax........