One of our missions here at Pulan Magic is to use natural, sustainable, and local resources. Hafa Adai Honey has been one of our main sources for the local beeswax we use in our candles. We are so grateful to Hafa Adai Honey and to the other Guam beekeepers (Guam Bee Company & Pangelinan Bee Co.) for providing a wonderful resource.
We wanted to share the facts about beeswax, honey, & our beloved Guam honeybees through this Q&A interview with Hafa Adai Honey. Enjoy the info and spread the message:)
Q: What is the process of extracting/harvesting beeswax? Is the process harmful to bees?
A: There are several ways to process beeswax. For us we harvest in a way that is best for the bees but yields the least amount of wax. When harvesting honey we only cut off the wax caps which is a thin layer of wax sealing the honey in the comb. We return the comb to the bees so they don't have to make more wax to rebuild.
Q: How is beeswax a sustainable resource?
A: Beeswax is sustainable because it is a natural and renewable byproduct of the bees. Even the bees will recycle and reuse their beeswax! The bees consume pollen and nectar and with special glands in their abdomen they make scales of wax which they use in the construction of their hive. It is biodegradable, nontoxic and the cleanest burning wax for candles :)
Q: What specific types of nectar and pollen do bees from Hafa Adai Honey feed on? Does their feed affect the smell, color, or consistency of the wax?
A: Since the bees will forage 2-3 miles away from their hive it is impossible for us here on Guam to really know which plants they are getting nectar and pollen from. In other parts of the world they will have many acres of one crop so they can identify the nectar source. The best we can do is pay attention to what is flowering when the honey flow is happening. For example if its avocado or mango season. Im sure there might be a small difference in the wax depending on the food source but it is not as noticeable as the differences in honey.
Q: How much beeswax do bees produce in a single harvest?
A: The amount of wax produced varies drastically. The bees will make wax to make more storage for the hive. I try to make sure they always have frames so they don't have to spend too much energy making comb. Also the amount of wax I can harvest varies as well. When it comes to harvesting honeycomb I don't get any wax.
When I harvest honey for every 100lbs of honey I might get around 5lbs (beeswax). Last week I harvested a little over 400lbs I hope to get 15-20lbs(beeswax). I'll try to process it next week and see how much wax I get.
Q: How do we keep the honeybee population on Guam healthy and thriving?
A: The best thing to help all pollinators is to cut back on pesticides. If you must use pesticides use them late in the day when most pollinators have finished foraging for the day. We are fortunate here on Guam that the only real threat to the bees are the invasive greater banded hornets.
Currently the honeybee population on Guam is healthy and thriving. Aside from the beekeepers there are many hives in the wild.
That concludes our Q&A interview with Hafa Adai Honey! Please spread the message by 1: supporting local businesses and 2: Using and buying local resources before purchasing from off-island sources.
So much light & love,
Chelsea from Pulan Magic