How Is Shellac Made and Where Does the Lac Bug Come From?

Shellac is made from bug resin.

The lac insect, scientific name Laccifer lacca, related to the scale bug, sticks its mouth into the branches and bark of certain types of trees, then secretes a resin that covers its entire body.

After this bug resin is crushed, almost always along with the bug itself, washed, and melted into flakes or thin layers, it makes up what we call “shellac.”

It used to make a type of varnish, as well as sealing wax, lacquer, and phonograph records.

The female lac bug is found on trees in the forests of India and Thailand.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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