I wish I didn't have to write a page about organic beeswax for my website. I really do. But we have to face the facts about the world we live in, don't we? Hiding our heads in the sand ostrich-style won't do us any good.
So here goes…
Yes, just as you might feel safer buying organic apples, organic broccoli, organic lettuce, organic anything, if you're shopping for beeswax, you might want to also consider buying organic (or pharmaceutical grade).
It's hard to look at that scrumptious piece of comb honey in the photo, produced by one of my hives, and think that the snowy-white beeswax could be contaminated with any of a number of different pesticides, but it could be.
(Though in this case, I think - and certainly hope - that it wasn't, because I ate the whole thing!).
The Root of the Problem
I'm sure you're aware that honey bees have been having a rough time in recent years. Dwindling bee populations and disappearing bee colonies have lots of people very worried.
And one of the primary culprits behind the honey bees' problems? Pesticides. Lots of different pesticides, applied to lots of different crops that are visited by foraging honey bees.
Sometimes a bee colony becomes so contaminated with pesticides that it's wiped out completely. Dead in a matter of days, or even hours.
But sometimes the degree of contamination, or the type of pesticide contamination, is less obvious and less immediate.
The colony survives, at least for a time, but the hive environment has become contaminated. And that means that anything harvested from that hive - honey, pollen, and yes, beeswax - could carry traces of the pesticide.
Another Potential Source of Contamination…
One of the many problems that honey bees face these days is an array of pests that can invade hives and parasitise bees. If these pests aren't controlled in some way, they can eventually kill a colony.
One way in which some beekeepers have fought this problem is by introducing pesticides into the hive - pesticides that are thought to be tolerated by the bees while being deadly to the pest.
These pesticides are approved for use in honey bee colonies ONLY when used as labeled. And the labeling always specifies that the pesticide not be applied when the bees are gathering honey that will be harvested for human consumption.
But unfortunately, traces of some of these intentionally-introduced pesticides have been found in hive products.
Don't Avoid Using Beeswax
More than anything, I hope that this page doesn’t discourage you from using beeswax. It's one of nature's most wonderful products. It's the best product available for so many uses.
And besides, I'll double-dog dare you to name ANY type of agricultural product you might buy for which there is no chance of pesticide contamination. There's no such thing. Again, it's just the world we live in these days.
So consider how you plan to use the beeswax, and just be careful about what you buy.
If you're going to use the wax for candle making, for example, buying organic is probably less important. If you're going to use the wax to make lip balm, or a lotion, or any form of cosmetic that you'll be applying directly to your skin, you should probably seriously consider buying organic.
And though there's a certain amount of trust in believing
that a product touted as organic is truly organic, that's not exclusive
to beeswax. You have to trust that those organic apples you buy are
truly organic, too. You can increase the likelihood of getting truly organic by buying certified organic.
As I said, this is a page I wish I didn't have to write. But it's information that I thought you'd want to know.