The impact all species of bee have on their environment is monumental, helping propagate local plant life across ever greater territories. The impact they have had on us humans, however, has helped shape our civilization both culturally and technologically. In ancient Egypt, bees were used to symbolize the lower lands of the empire. This symbolism eventually lead the Pharaoh to be known as “He of Sedge and Bee”, Sedge being the upper areas of Egypt, meaning the Pharaoh was the ruler of the entire region. An old folktale in England demands beekeepers tell the honey bees of any important events in their household to ensure the bees feel welcome and won’t desert their owners.
Aside from the obvious use as a construction material for the bees themselves, their wax has quite a few uses for humans. Primarily used in the production of food, it can help prevent spoilage or mold growth on cheese or fruit. The wax is also used in cosmetics including lip balm, hand creams, and lip gloss as a moisturizer, since it has a natural sealing effect to trap moisture in the skin.
Beeswax has served an important purpose throughout human history. Before plastic was even a concept, this substance has been used in its stead for thousands of years. Wax tablets from various cultures were used for the storage and transfer of knowledge, while others used larger portions as templates for painting deceased relatives. The wax was applied to bows in an effort to help make them more resistant to the elements, and to preserve wind instruments from splitting during musical performances.
Across the world, products from bees have been found in the most ancient of archaeological sites. Egyptian tombs and Roman ruins have been more common locales for the discovery of ancient wax, as have sunk Viking long ships, proving that wax will never decay and can be cooled or heated and reused as necessary.