Why Beeswax Color Varies

May 16, 2018

Why Beeswax Color Varies

You can line up 10 different beeswax candles from different candle makers and each one will have it's own color. Even beeswax candles from the same candle maker will have candles that vary in color. The reason? Not all beeswax is the same. Since the wax is not made in a factory that controls every part of its creation, beeswax is created by...drum roll please!...bees. Depending on what region of the country the bee lives determines what flowers and plants she forages on and that not only affects wax color, but the fragrance of the wax. 

Beeswax color also varies depending on where in the hive the wax was located. . . 
  • Cappings wax: very light in color as it is the wax that was used to seal up the honeycomb. It also has a more delicate honey scent.
  • Honeycomb wax: is deeper in color and may have more golden hues to it. Wax from honeycomb has a richer fragrance to it due to its exposure to all the honey.
  • Brood comb wax: this is a much darker color wax and it was the "nursery" where all the bees were born. Brood comb wax typically does not have the same sweet honey aroma to it and can even smell unpleasant depending on how long the brood comb was kept in the hive. Candle makers will not knowingly use brood comb to make beeswax candles. 
There are several other reasons why the color of beeswax varies and not all of them have to do with the bees. . . 
  • During honey processing, the beekeeper may mix their dark brood comb wax with their cappings and honey super wax and melt it all down together. Another reason beeswax can turn dark brown is when the honey is harvested from the wax. There are many ways to process honey and some of them are very gentle on the wax while other methods may overheat the wax and turn it brown.
  • Beeswax candle makers can also cause beautiful beeswax to darken if they overheat the wax when they make their candles. Overheating beeswax can also ruin the sweet honey scent of beeswax, so experienced candle makers are very careful with their wax to preserve both color and fragrance.

As a candle maker, we only purchase our beeswax directly from trusted apiaries here in the Pacific Northwest. They allow us to hand select our wax based on color and fragrance. We know how they treated their wax so as to preserve the highest quality of wax. We also know what types of flowers and plants the bees have been foraging on.

Big Moon Beeswax Pillar wtih TulipsWhen buying beeswax candles, look for lighter colors such as cream, yellows, and golden hues. This range of colors will have the best honey scent and provide a lovely golden glow when the candles are lit.

You can also purchase pure white beeswax for special occasions such as weddings. Even though beeswax starts out pure white when the bees make it, by the time we humans harvest the wax, it has changed color due to honey and pollen exposure in the hive. To get the wax back to its pure white color, wax processors either use a natural filtration system (the kind our apiaries use) or chemicals. The natural filtration method removes all the color and almost all of the honey scent from the wax. Those who purchase pure white beeswax candles for their weddings gladly forego the honey fragrance in exchange for a bright, long-burning, drip-free and pure candle. Just know where your wedding candles are coming from so you don't end up with chemically treated white wax that can have an unpleasant or artificial aroma to it. 

Hopefully, this little explanation helps you know more about why your candles can vary in color and fragrance intensity. As long as you buy your beeswax candles from a trusted source, you should not have to worry about getting inferior wax. 

Enjoy the beauty of beeswax in all its lovely shades!  

 

 




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