When you think about candles, good memories start to flow, candles are often associated with those romantic candlelit dinners, spiritual moments in divine places, relaxing nights at home, birthdays and a myriad of life’s milestones. I’m sure you’ve noticed there are different types of candles in the marketplace. There are soy candles, paraffin candles, paraffin mixed with soy, carnauba, bayberry, etc. We might be a little biased here at Sweet Comb Chicago, but we are super excited about beeswax candles. We take care of our bees and like to think candles are one of the many ways they take care of us. In addition to ambiance and mood setting, there are great health and environmental benefits associated with beeswax candles specifically, that you don’t get with soy or any of the others. Once you get a good understanding of beeswax candles, you’ll be super excited about using beeswax candles, too. So let’s talk a little bit about candles and more importantly, beeswax candles.
So, what is beeswax? Beeswax refers to a natural non-toxic substance that is secreted by bees after consumption of honey or sugars. This waxy substance is tacky and antibacterial. Bees use this wax for the construction of honeycombs. Humans have found different ways of using this wax for as long as anyone can remember. When the wax is cleaned and filtered, we can use it as a base for great personal care products like hand and body balm, mustache wax, lip balm, pomade, soaps, creams, etc. It is also makes awesome candles.
What Makes Beeswax Special
Most people prefer using beeswax candles because they are all natural. Generally, natural products are of higher quality and tend to be beneficial both to the environment and to our health. Many people report feeling a strong connection between beeswax candles and nature and feel closer to nature in the presence of the clean burning aroma from pure beeswax.
For these reasons people seek out natural options with low impact on the environment when considering health, beauty, diet, even tech purchases. You should be happy to know the production and collection of beeswax does not harm our bees. It’s amazing to think that bees have to visit flowers about 33 million times before they create one pound of beeswax! They’ll fly for approximately 150,000 miles to collect enough nectar to make one pound of wax. For this reason and a few others, our candles are very limited in supply. First off, the only wax we take is excess cap wax which allows the bees to focus on foraging and raising new generations of bees rather than replacing their comb. Secondly, we wait until Spring to harvest. Waiting until Spring means the honey we gather is truly excess and we insure the bees have plenty to eat during winter. They’ve got enough to worry about with the insanely cold winters we’ve been having. We collect about 1-2 pounds of this wax per hive per year and our candles weight slightly over 4oz each.
The coolest thing about beeswax candles is their ability to clean the air. They are the only types of candles that cleanse the air by emitting negative ions while they burn. This can invigorate the body and improve the quality of air. These candles purify by neutralizing the harmful positive ions that tend to be dense within our homes especially in winter months. Positive ions include airborne toxins, dust, and allergens. If you are suffering from breathing difficulties like allergies and asthma, it is the high time you considered using pure beeswax candles. I recommended you burn a beeswax candle in your bedroom for 30 to 60 minutes before sleeping to clear the air. You may find that you have a more restful sleep. I know I do. Research suggests negative ions produce biochemical reactions that play a significant role in increasing serotonin which can relieves stress, alleviate depression, and boost your energy. According to a study conducted at Columbia University, negative ions relieved depression in subjects tested. The negative ions released by beeswax candles may affect how you feel and can lead to increased productivity in your working environment as well. We’ve taken the liberty of spicing up the scent of your rooms by adding a bit of essential and fragrance oils to some of our candles for subtle scents of Barbershop, Wysteria, Sandalwood, and Green Sea Kelp but there’s really nothing like a plain beeswax candle. It’s still my favorite scent that just cannot be duplicated synthetically.
Other than health benefits, there are some great aesthetic aspects to using beeswax candles over other types of candles. For example, I often use beeswax candles in the kitchen is also a great idea because it easily helps to neutralize unwanted odors without heavy perfumes or creating an artificial aroma. The use of beeswax candles is not limited to any specific room. Beeswax candles can even be used in home offices and other places with lingering odors. You can also use beeswax candles in a nursery to help purify the air for young children with delicate lungs.
Without getting too serious I’d like to quickly discuss environmental considerations. In the past two decades, environmental conservation has remained a trending topic and is why we started helping bees in the first place. Keeping bees is what we are doing to help. It isn’t much, and every time we release a swarm I wonder if they will survey out there. Every time I see a honeybee I wonder if it’s one of ours. We know there are hundreds of varieties of foods that wouldn’t be available to us if we lost our bees and our fragile environment exists in a tenuous balance and bees contribute so much to that balance. Not everyone can be a beekeeper, but little steps can lead to big changes. As a global community we should take personal responsibility to contribute to the management and protection of the environment. Reducing our personal waste footprint and making choices that benefit the environment are more important now than ever. We can choose to walk or bike instead of drive, we can use rainwater instead of hose water for gardening, we can choose reusable bags for shopping. These are small, insignificant personal choices, but if we all make them, we can impact our neighborhoods, our cities and our planet.
Dollars, Cents & Light
All right I’ll get off my soap box…Let’s get practical for a minute and compare prices. It is generally or at least it should be about 3 times more expensive to buy beeswax candles, but the fact that they burn longer makes them worth the price. Why do these candles burn longer than other types of candles? The explanation is pretty simple. They have a higher melting point than paraffin and other types of candles. The high melting point of these candles makes them burn about 3 to 5 five times longer than other types of candles. The drip is also minimal which can increase the burning time as well and decrease smoldering.
We all know that candles do not produce the brightest light and they aren’t very practical for reading, or needle point, but something you may not know about beeswax candles is that they not only burn longer but also burn brighter than candles you may be used to. Beeswax candles emit a light spectrum that is like that of the sun (solar spectrum and green rhino spectrum). For this reason beeswax candles have been described as gifts of nature.
I don’t know about that, but I do believe the honeybee is one of nature’s greatest gifts. At Sweet Comb Chicago we do what we do for the bees. Over the past 2 years I’m excited to see a slight increase in the number of honeybees here in Chicago and across other urban areas. We like to think it’s because of our partnership with the bees and with you. Continue to plant bee friendly flowers and with your support we hope to see this trend continue. Feel free to send any questions about bees, candles etc…