Honey makes the world go round.
Well, my world at least. The ultimate reason we embark on this enrapturing journey of beekeeping is to harvest honey and beeswax for its many uses.
By now it is safe to assume you have spent time educating yourself on the ins and outs of beekeeping, and if not, we highly recommend these introductory posts:
- Is Beekeeping Right for You?
- How to Start Beekeeping
- Beehive Management
- Beekeeping Problems
- Beekeeping Equipment
- Cleaning Beekeeping Equipment
- Harvesting Honey and Beeswax
And now, blessed with the abundance of your little bees' hard work, we take a quick recap of all the wonderful things you can do with honey and beeswax.
Common Uses for Honey
Honey toast, honey in your tea, honey for your chicken nuggets, and honey in your cookies…these are just four common, everyday uses for honey.
It doesn't end there, however, as a beekeeper, you will use honey for anything and everything you can think of, and as luck would have it, the list of known uses of honey seems to only get bigger over time.
For now, here's a quick list of the most popular uses for honey:
1. Sweet Tooth
No surprise, right? Honey is a fantastic sweetener, and has been used for 1000's of years to sweeten food, teas, coffee, toast, and sometimes just as a cravings curber. A dollop of honey goes a long way to satisfy a sweet tooth.
2. Hair Conditioner
You aren’t alone if the thought of slathering thick, sticky, honey in your hair makes you cringe. But before you shake your head at this common application, consider the fact that the benefits of doing so may outweigh the mess you are bound to create.
Honey is known to restore shine and moisture to your mane. So, it depends on how badly you want to rejuvenate your hair, but even with the certainty of a sticky mess, I bet your hair will shine and smell amazing once rinsed.
You may have heard of a milk and honey bath, which has been enjoyed for thousands of years. In fact, Cleopatra was known to use goat milk for bathing. Ingredients like honey and oatmeal have been added to the traditional milk bath over time.
Honey has a calming aroma, and that alone is a fantastic reason to bathe in it after a long day. Additionally, honey is known to be a great moisturizer and soother for dry skin. So during your next spa day, add a little milk and honey to your bath for a naturally soothing soak.
4. For the Flu
Honey is an extremely thick substance, and if you’ve ever had a sore throat and grandma suggested a teaspoon of honey, she knew what she was talking about. Honey will coat the lining of your throat and provide a soothing experience when flu season hits.
According to the Mayo Clinic, “…honey appeared to be as effective as a common cough suppressant ingredient, dextromethorphan, in typical over-the-counter doses. Since honey is low-cost and widely available, it might be worth a try.”
Studies are always being conducted on the use of honey medicinally, but it looks as though the verdict is in regarding sore throats and cough suppressants.
As you know, honey is created through the harvesting of the pollen that bees have direct access to. It would make sense to assume that the exposure of honey that was derived from a plant, that is a known allergen, might help create immunity. After all, that is how allergy shots tend to work.
Unfortunately, according to the Mayo Clinic, this hypothesis has not been consistently proven in laboratory studies, but they haven’t made the decision to rule out the possibility that honey can help those who suffer from allergies overcome some of their symptoms. If nothing else, it still works as a cough suppressant.
Uses for Beeswax
Can you imagine what it was like to be the first person to taste honey? They must have been blown away! If that wasn't enough, when the usefulness of beeswax came to light, the appreciation for the honeybee and beekeeping must have grown exponentially!
Let's take a look at some of the popular uses for beeswax:
1. Cheese Wax
Ever wonder if the wax on the outside of your aged cheese is edible? If it’s made from beeswax it is! That’s not saying you’d want to eat it, but if you get a few stray tidbits in one of your bites, you will be just fine.
Beeswax is used to coat cheese throughout the aging process to seal in the freshness and moisture of the cheese, and it prevents the growth of mold while adding to the flavor of the cheese.
Before electricity, there were candles to light the way in the evening hours. Before candles, there were torches. The Egyptians were the first known civilization to start dipping wicks into melted beeswax to create candles.
To this day crafters and beeswax lovers enjoy creating clean, natural, burning candles from the wax of honeybees. So, even if you aren’t a crafty person, someone else might love to get their hands on a bit of your beeswax.
3. Balms and Salves
Beeswax is a wonderful sealant, thus it does a fantastic job of keeping moisture in when things get a little dry. Creating lotions, balms, and salves out of beeswax is not a new practice, and some beauty product companies base their entire commercial operation around the use of beeswax in chapsticks, lotions, salves, and balms.
Lips and hands aren’t the only things that need sealing off, beeswax also keeps additional moisture from getting into things like wood and fabric.
Beeswax has also been used as shoe polish and leather conditioner to keep leather from drying out or getting wet and ruined. Not to mention to give shoes a special shine.
Speaking of shine, beeswax is also used to polish furniture, giving it a brand new shine, and adding a layer of protection from water glasses, or other external elements that can cause scratches and damage.
Over the years, crayons have evolved and some brands have unsavory ingredients that some children may even be allergic to.
Making crayons out of beeswax has become a popular way to ensure that children are playing with safe products. What's more, when a young child decides a crayon looks good enough to eat, parents can rest easy knowing it’s just a bit of beeswax without harsh chemicals.
Now that you know of a few of the lucrative uses of honey and beeswax, we will also share how to make your beekeeping profitable.