Why I'm Selective About My Beeswax + Honey
A big part of the practices and philosophies I've built Sage & Sea Apothecary on focus on sustainability, ethically sourcing materials, and being kind to the environment. Although not all items are vegan, when I do source the few animal products used as raw materials, such as beeswax and honey, I definitely do my homework to ensure they fit within my brand's mission and beliefs.
Bees play a HUGELY important role in our ecosystem. They are highly adapted to serve as expert pollinators of fruits and vegetables and afford us humans the ability to have a variety of delicious, healthful plants available for our consumption. In fact, they pollinate about 1/3 of all food IN THE WORLD! In addition to pollinating flowering plants like squash and apples, bees also pollinate foraging crops that feed animals, including the livestock we eat. Honeybees also produce honey and beeswax, which can be used for things like food, candles, skincare, and as a hardening agent (it's what allows me to harden lip balms and salves for your use!). Not only do bees support our ecosystem by growing what sustains us, but they are also contributors to our economy by helping us grow and create items to sell. Less isn't always more, especially when it comes to bees!
Fun fact for future mamas: during birthing class my nurse taught us that even though food isn't generally allowed during labor, honey sticks are a-ok and are a great source of energy (hello, sugar!) since they are quickly and easily digestible. It definitely did the trick for me when I was in labor with my son!
In recent years the honeybee population has started to decline and, in some cases, beekeepers have seen massive die-off of their bee colonies. A few main contributors to this include climate change, disease, and most notably the use of pesticides. As farmers try to come up with ways to protect their crops from pests they have in turn been harming the bee population. As health-conscious consumers, many of us likely strive for non-GMO, organically grown food for ourselves and our families because we don't like the sound of consuming chemicals. While ingesting pesticides from time to time may not kill us (at least immediately), it is killing off these pro-pollinators at an alarming rate. Pesticides often contain neonicotinoid chemicals like clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiametoxam that seem to have a tremendous impact on the bee population.
For these reasons, I am very conscious about how I source my honey and beeswax because I want to make sure that the people caring for the bees I use the byproducts from are following ethical, healthy, eco-friendly practices.
As far as honey goes, I purchase it from a local (to me) company called Aquidneck Honey located in Tiverton, RI. I love that their honey is raw, which has added benefits when it comes to skincare, and that they understand how important bees are to the ecosystem and economy. Also, in terms of food it really does taste so much better than some of the commercial honey out there because of its purity! You can find this in my lavender honey face and body wash.
For beeswax, I love purchasing from Kline Honey Bee Farm out of Edinburg, OH. Not only do they offer really wonderful products, but the fact that they sell their beeswax in smaller sticks makes it really easy and affordable to work with when it comes to small batches. If you are ever looking for beeswax to make lip balms or salves at home I highly recommend their 1 oz blocks.
Now that my family has a house of our own with plenty of land, I hope to keep bees someday; we've even found some old bee boxes in our woods when exploring the trails out back! Until then, I promise that I'll keep sourcing my bee byproducts from benevolent beekeepers who are advocates and protectors of the incredible creatures they work with.