Explore our Bees & Botanicals™ fragrance products made with sustainably harvested beeswax. All our sustainable luxury products are inspired by our travels and thoughtfully crafted by our expert perfumers. Discover scents designed to become timeless modern classics. CRANBOURN® supports bee and pollinator conservation, and all our products are accredited by B Corp and the Vegetarian Society.
The Evolution of Bees
Bee species are found all around the world, with the exception of Antarctica. Bees evolved away from their predatory wasp ancestors several hundred million years ago, mirroring the evolution of flowering plants. They began feeding on pollen in exchange for a pollination service – this is where the interdependent relationship between bees and plants started.
The Humble Honeybee
There are over 20,000 species of bee, with the easily recognisable honeybee (Apis) subspecies only representing a small proportion of the overall bee species. The best-known bee is the Western honeybee (Apis mellifera), which has been domesticated since early human civilisation for honey and wax production, as well as for crop pollination. Honeybees are highly social and live in large well-organised complex family groups, whilst other bee species are solitary.
Botanicals, Bees & Pollination
The evolution of plants several hundred million years ago saw an abundance of flowering species, which provided an opportunity for a group of vegetarian wasps to evolve into bees. Compared to other insects, bees have a higher proportion of olfactory (smell) receptors. This allows them to recognise different plant species, communicate socially and recognise members of their own hive.
A Bee's Diet
A bee’s diet consists of pollen and nectar. Their activity within a flower makes them particularly effective pollinators, and very important both agriculturally and economically from a human perspective. Once a bee has identified new flowers, it will return to its hive with samples of the new botanical source and share its location with the colony.
Bees & Human Civilisation
Since the dawn of civilisation, honeybees have proved very useful in providing honey, wax, and royal jelly. Early humans were hunter gatherers, and they would have come across bees’ nests (hives) usually in trees, which they harvested.
Cave drawings and Stone Age art documents the human and bee relationship. The earliest documented beekeeping (apiculture) was in Ancient Egypt and Greece with the construction of hives, which enabled the construction of hives and the domestication of the honeybee. Today, the domesticated Western honeybee is kept in beehives by beekeepers around the world for pollination purposes and honey, wax, and royal jelly production.
How Beeswax is Formed
Beeswax is a high value natural wax produced by honeybees. The wax is formed into scales by wax-producing glands on the abdomen of worker-bees, who discard it at the hive. Hive worker-bees then collect it, and use it to create cells for honey storage and larval protection within the hive.
Beeswax and Candle Making
Beeswax has been used since early history for candle making. Beeswax is commonly used as an ingredient in cosmetics, health products, polishes (wood & leather), lubricants, and as a waterproofing agent.
One of the most unique characteristics of beeswax is its ability to purify the air. Beeswax candles emit negative ions as they burn. These negative ions neutralise pollutants in the air, helping to eliminate dust, mould spores, and nasty odours floating around. Beeswax is edible, having similarly negligible toxicity, and is approved for food use in most countries including the EU.
Feeding the World
A 2019 Forbes Magazine article commented on the fact that the majority of global crop pollination was performed by bees.
‘Every season, pollination from honey bees, native bees, and flies deliver billions of dollars (U.S.) in economic value. Between $235 and $577 billion (U.S.) worth of annual global food production relies on their contribution.’
In 2019, the western honeybee was listed on the IUCN Red List, after numerous studies indicated that the species has undergone significant decline across Europe. Both wild and domesticated honeybee populations have suffered from the use of pesticides, disease, pests, and natural habitat loss. Honeybee decline raises biodiversity concerns, as well as the risk to food price rises and shortages, as bee pollination decreases. The decline of bees has meant that in some parts of the world farmers have been forced to turn to artificial pollination by hand, which is both expensive and labour intensive.
At CRANBOURN®, we are passionate about supporting bees and other pollinator species, who are fundamental to the health of our natural ecosystems.