Honey bees produce honey wax, an all-natural substance.
The wax is used by honey bees to build their colonies, store their honey and shelter their young.
It is also harvested along with its coproduct honey, one of the most controversial foods in veganism.
Is beeswax vegan?
Beeswax, although an animal product, is not vegan.
However, some vegans opt to use ethically-harvested beeswax.
The relationship between bees, 15-30% world food supply further complicates matters.
This raises questions about the meaning of vegan.
Learn more about beeswax and the ethics behind beekeeping.
There are also vegan options.
What Is Beeswax?
Honey bees produce honey and beeswax.
Honey is the primary food source for honey bees and protection against pesticides and natural pathogens.
Their precious cargo is stored in beeswax.
They store their precious cargo in beeswax.
These bees, between 12 and 18 days old, heat the hive up to 95 degrees F (34 degrees C).
At this point, they start to extrude clear wax scales.
They become solid when they come in contact with air.
The honey is then turned into yellow-colored beeswax by the bees, which they chew with some pollen and propolis.
The bees shape the wax with their mandibles to form hexagonal cells.
This is commonly called honeycomb or comb wax.
The wax is the home of the bees’ winter food supply (honey, pollen), as well as their brood (larvae or pupae).
Each cell is protected by a beeswax cover once filled with honey.
The industrial beekeepers collect beeswax and honey from the honeycomb frame.
They then use a hot, sharp knife to remove the top and caps from the honeycomb.
This prepares the frame for honey extraction.
The wax is then removed from the flames and purified.
Why Vegans Avoid Beeswax
Vegans are very strict about not consuming or using products made from animals.
Beeswax, in fact, is derived from small animals.
Vegans also avoid honey and beeswax in all forms of pharmaceuticals, as well as musical instruments.
Vegans claim that beeswax is an animal exploitation coproduct.
Although bees are smaller than other animals that serve the commercial market, they are no different from other animals.
Bees pollinate almost one-third of U.S. edible crops and produce more than 150,000,000 pounds of honey annually.
The argument that small-animal agriculture harms bees is supported by science.
Research has shown that commercial migratory processes cause oxidative stress, reducing their lifespans.
If the bees suffer from disease or are too costly to keep them alive in winter, they can be taken out of their hives.
Why Is Honey Not Vegan?
Vegans should be cautious about using this product made by bees.
Because honey is made by bees, it is unfair to exploit that labor after they have put in a lot of effort.
The same question is raised about the honey-extraction methods used at bee farms, which may cause harm to or even death to bees.
What Is Beeswax Used For?
Now that we know the humble honeybee’s wax cannot be vegan, let’s look at what products it is used for to avoid it.
Beeswax has dozens of uses and is a very popular compound.
It can be found in many everyday products, including but not limited to:
- Furniture polish
- Lip balm
- Pomades and hair waxes
- Hand salves and other cosmetics
- Dental floss
- Water-resistant clothing
- Food (either as an ingredient in thickeners or as a lining for pastry case cases) (10)
- Drinks, especially alcoholic drinks
What Are The Best Vegan Beeswax Alternatives To Beeswax?
It will depend on the product you buy, as different products may be compatible with different applications.
There are many vegan alternatives to beeswax, including:
- Soy wax (candles and lip balms, etc.
- Candelilla wax (lotions and lubricants; varnishes, etc.
- Various plant oils (moisturizers, soaps, salves, etc.)
- Bayberry (Myrica), wax (candles and fragrances, etc.
- Cosmetics using sustainable carnauba wax
- Sunflower wax (cosmetics and balms, lotions, etc.
- Synthetic beeswax can be used for multiple purposes.
Is Beeswax Vegan? Answered!
Beeswax, while a wonderful natural product, is not vegan.
There are many alternatives.
As the trend toward plant-powered living continues, you can expect to see more companies removing animal products.
Veganism isn’t just about the fluffy and furry.