Are beeswax cappings contaminated with pesticides?

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2012: $3,500.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2013
Region: Southern
State: Virginia
Principal Investigator:
Elizabeth LeGall
Meadows Edge Farm


  • Animal Products: beeswax


  • Education and Training: on-farm/ranch research, workshop
  • Production Systems: agroecosystems

    Proposal summary:

    Beeswax cappings obtained during honey extraction from 10 apiaries in Virginia and North Carolina were analyzed for pesticide residue. One sample (10%) had no contaminants detected. Nine samples (90%) contained one or more detectable contaminants, but overall contained 50% fewer contaminants than found in beeswax foundation. The top two contaminants were fluvalinate and coumaphos but at significantly lower levels than found in foundation samples in a previously published report. Although the sample size was small, results suggest capping wax is a potential source of less contaminated wax for use in creating wax foundation for honey bee brood chambers.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    The objective was to determine if beeswax cappings would be a potential source of uncontaminated or less contaminated wax for use in making wax foundation for use in honey bee brood chambers.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.