Young worker bees produce beeswax in the colony. Honeybees have four pairs of special wax secreting glands underneath their abdomens and from these glands are secreted liquid wax which hardens into scales when exposed to air. As the worker bees mature, this gland becomes dormant and the it is left with the young workers bees to produce beeswax.
A healthy honeybee colony needs approximately 1000 wax scales to make 1 gram of beeswax for their honeycomb - a young worker bee typically produces 8 scales of wax in a 12 hour period.
Beeswax is made up mainly of fatty acids, is yellow in color usually because of pollen. It can turn brown if there's contact with propolis and other bees. It is an exceptionally stable substance that it can remain in its solid state in varying ranges of room temperature but it will melt at 65 degrees C and will become brittle at below 18 degrees C.
What does this signify? It means the honeycomb can withstand changes in temperature brought about by changing seasons which is the key to a honeybee colony's survival through summer and winter.
Beeswax is valuable to beekeepers as they can sell this bee product commercially. Beeswax is widely used in the cosmetics industry - from creams to lip balms and cheese makers use beeswax as a coating to their cheese to prevent the product from spoiling.
Candles is by far the most common form of beeswax since the 6th century when candles are abundantly used. Today, beeswax is also used as a coating for medicines in the pharmaceutical industry, in wood varnishes and some electrical components.