The Beeswax

Beeswax Buddha
I have been making and selling beeswax candles and ornaments since 2009. In 2018, I began making bayberry wax candles and the bayberry wax taper became my biggest seller. (To keep things in perspective, in 2019 my biggest seller was the acorn cap candle, which I did not introduce until late September.) Sales occur at the Downtown Marquette Farmers Market; candles also are available through the Marquette Food Co-op.

I buy beeswax cappings in bulk directly from beekeepers, lately a fellow in Iowa. (See 5,705 pounds of beeswax.) For the most part, I leave the wax in its natural state, adding nothing and removing very little. I do add ground cinnamon to some candles for the coloring. It also adds a bit of cinnamon scent to beeswax’s natural honey scent. All candles are made at home, in molds, with cotton wick.

Cinnamon beeswax bear and beeswax bear
The bayberry wax comes from a U.S. supplier originating, however, in Colombia. At least that is my understanding. Although myrtle shrubs, on which the berries that produce the wax grow, are native to the U.S., I have been unable to find anyone in the U.S. growing myrtle bushes and collecting their berries in order to make wax. A customer suggested that these myrtle shrubs are protected and that it might be illegal here to collect the berries, but I have yet to find definitive information.

My use of bayberry wax relates directly to the candle and wax research I did over the winter of 2017-2018. That research became “Stories of Wax,” a blog book, as I call it, which can be read in full at My research was fueled, in part, by the claim that beeswax candles, while burning, clean the air, and that they do so by emitting negative ions. Over the years I had tried to uncover the truth of this, to no avail. Then the research began fueling itself, taking me to such places as the Wild Old West, Colonial America, the French Revolution, the Chihuahuan Desert, the High Seas, the Royal Hall in London, and South Dakota. In addition, the research introduced me to people I found fascinating. There was Michael Faraday, Ishmael, Dr. A. B. Granville, Alice Morse Earle, Henry Ford, Madame Tussaud, Kathryn Stubergh, and gunslingers and outlaws and candelilleros and nuns. What I learned was that all waxes are similar but not the same, that many waxes have interesting stories, and that a burning beeswax candle is simply not an air cleaner.

But, through this research, my appreciation for naturally occurring waxes such as bayberry and beeswax grew. Beeswax not only supplies the very origin of the word wax, it is the only wax naturally colored and scented by the pollen and nectar of flowers. Bayberry wax also has a natural, intrinsic color and aroma: it is green and spicy. And, like beeswax, bayberry wax makes a wonderful, aromatic candle (especially when mixed with beeswax). It also has a pretty great story that is rich with tradition, folly, and poetry.

For many years I loosely maintained the following list of links that all have to do with beeswax in some way or another. I no longer check it or add to it, but maybe you will find something of interest there. Any comments or questions, please email me at

Beeswax taper
for those with paws
beeswax: part of your first century bills and things
beeswax and your spectacles
soon you be waxing your cheese
debunking the negative ions claim
beeswax floats your (origami) boat
the poop on “mind your own beeswax”
bees make a whiskey bottle
Evidence for negative ions in beeswax? (via the pollen)
660 lbs. of beeswax art
NYC bees & Hurricane Sandy
Wax castles
Pysanka Museum and Sculpture Park
old beeswax, old teeth
beeswax tent
keeping bees in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan
an enlightening use of beeswax
more beeswax artistry
Da Vinci liked beeswax
really old beeswax and another use for beeswax
beeswax gets a room of its own
What is wax?
get crafty with beeswax & paper
illuminating a beeswax ornament
make a beeswax food wrap
beeswax & holy tree healing
beeswax & Bob Feller
beeswax at the MoMA
put that on your pipe & smoke it
beeswax surf wax!
twig blocks (& beeswax)
beeswax & wood
recording on beeswax?
beeswax crayons
NYC has a bee in its bonnet
update on NYC & bees
beeswax on "History Detectives"
The Worshipful Company of Wax Chandlers
"This Old House" finds uses for beeswax
more old beeswax

Beeswax burning