My mom used to tell me to “mind my own beeswax” and when it comes to planning for emergencies, you’re gonna wish you had paid attention to your own beeswax and gotten prepared! I was in Houston for Hurricane Ike and lived without power for 12 days, depleting just about every flashlight, battery and candle I had in the house in that short period of time. It was unreal how quickly my “one month” stash evaporated in less than two weeks. We were careful with our energy, using flashlights & candles for about 2 hours in the evening to bathe and ready ourselves for bed and then using them for about 45 minutes before sunup in the morning so Brian could get ready to go to work. After that experience, my lack of emergency lighting gnawed at my peace of mind while I searched for economical yet long-lasting options.
Enter beeswax candles. I love scented candles but I am especially in love with beeswax candles. Not only are they environmentally friendly but they are helpful to American beekeepers who sell them for additional income to fund their small apiaries. However, it wasn’t until I was shopping for beeswax candles online that I discovered that they have MANY more amazing features that make them ideal for both everyday use and long-term hurricane/emergency storage.
• Pure beeswax has a much higher melting point than any other wax, meaning you get enormously long amounts of burn time per ounce of wax. (ie: a single 3×5 inch beeswax pillar candle burns for 115 hours – that’s the equivalent of burning for 28.75 days, assuming it is used 4 hours per night from 6:30-10:30 pm.) That’s right – ONE pillar IS your one month supply! Supposing you only want one small room lit, of course. J
• Burning pure beeswax candles with 100% cotton wicks emits beneficial negative ions. Negative ions neutralize bad positive ions such as allergens, dust and airborne toxins. The air in your home is actually cleaner after burning a beeswax candle. (Don’t try that with paraffin candles – the paraffin and thin lead wire in the wick leach toxins every time they are burned.)
• Beeswax candles are naturally dripless in draft-free environments so wax isn’t wasted.
• Beeswax candles have a slightly brighter flame than all other types of candles so in an emergency you’re getting a longer-lasting, brighter light.
• Beeswax candles have a golden-yellow color and a delicious, creamy whipped honey fragrance.
Now that you know why they are so good, let me tell you what specifics you need to shop for:
- You want the candle to be 100% pure beeswax. Typically the candles are the solid poured style – not sheets of “beeswax” rolled up to create a candle. Rolled beeswax candles can be 100% beeswax (although many are not) but they are usually more expensive and burn faster than the solid pillar candles, making rolled candles a poor option for emergencies.
- Make sure your candle has a 100% cotton wick with no lead.
- If possible, purchase directly from the apiary (bee keeper) instead of through a middle man so your money is directly supporting the bees and you know you’re getting a fresh beeswax product – not something that is half beeswax, half paraffin wax because some candle lady doesn’t want to have to drive to the “bee farm” quite so often.
Believe it or not, Etsy is a great place to find quality candles. Search “pure beeswax candle” to begin. If you feel overwhelmed and you’d like to skip the numerous hours of research that I did, you can buy directly from the same seller Jamie and I used:
He offers wholesale pricing on orders of 20 candles or more, which saves you about $1 per candle. 12 candles fit in a flat-rate $16 shipping box. This business is out of Pennsylvania and I’ve been very pleased with his service & the fresh-poured, huge 3×5 pillar candles he’s sent me. The only thing that would make it better was if he was local! (If anyone knows of a Houston area beeswax candle maker, let me know!)
Want even more control over your finished candles? You can buy chunks of beeswax off Etsy, pick up 100% cotton wicks at Hobby Lobby and pour your own jar candles, too. Whatever you decide to do, you’ll be investing in your own peace of mind and your family’s ability to endure future emergencies. And that’s nobody’s beeswax but your own!