Demand for Australian Beeswax has continued to surge.
Many industries use beeswax to make a range of products. These includes everything from candles and furniture polish to glazing products for food. But it the is beauty and health industries worldwide that have driven prices the most. And there is particular demand for Australian beeswax, which has a unique advantage.
Due to the absence of varroa mite in Australia, apiarists do not need to use chemicals like pesticides on their hives. This means our beeswax is usually organic and can easily meet standards for “pharmaceutical grade” beeswax.
What is Pharmaceutical Grade Beeswax?
- Pharmaceutical Grade Beeswax is free from, or very low in, impurities and chemical traces that may be present in industrial grade Beeswax.
- Pharmaceutical grade beeswax must go through additional refinement (compared to industrial grade) and be tested and certified appropriately
- Pharmaceutical Grade Beeswax must meet a specific standard, depending on country.
- Beeswax is most commonly tested against standards set by the British Pharmacopoeia in Australia, which in turn refers to the European Pharmacopoeia
- Pharmaceutical grade beeswax is therefore often sold as “Yellow Beeswax BP” or “White Beeswax BP”
- The Pharmacopoeias test for melting point range, acid value, ester value and saponification as well as freedom from adulteration and contaminates such as pesticides residue
- It is desired by the cosmetic industry for its excellent emollient, healing and protective qualities, especially when used in balms
- It is also safe for human consumption, and passes straight through the human digestive system. So it’s often used in pharmaceutical and health products e.g. coatings for medications and vitamins capsules
What does the surge in demand mean for beekeepers?
All this demand for Australian beeswax and the premium price has had unexpected results. The Guardian reported in May 2018 that some members of the beekeeping industry may be struggling to afford the beeswax they need!
While some beekeepers have been able to take advantage of the higher prices, others have reportedly suffered. The price has hit hardest those beekeepers who do not have enough wax of their own. Particularly in drought areas, for example, where hives may not produce much. So before you hit the pharmaceutical grade market, consider selling industrial grade wax to local beekeepers in need (especially in states where beekeepers can’t import beeswax from interstate). Besides, selling your beeswax at industrial grade saves you a lot of extra work!
We currently sell a cost effective alternative to full wax foundations. Our hardy New Zealand pine full depth frames with plastic foundations are available with a thin coating of wax to start the bees. We’ve had great success with these, but we understand that everyone has different and preferred ways of doing things. That’s why we’re also looking at supplying industrial grade full wax foundations soon! Stay tuned.