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"Sticky Feet" vs Cocoon[edit]

The references clearly document that the secretion is a cocoon or tunnel formed as the insect traverses the branches of the tree. The secretion is not an adhesive used to adhere the insect to the branch. The insects stay on the branches just fine with their normal feet :-). If one examines Stick Lac, the unprocessed branches containing the shellac resin, one will see the tube-like cocoon structure, as well as Lac bugs within the structure.

However, I do see Andy Dingley's point - though "cocoon" is the industry vernacular, it my be considered a technically inaccurate term for the tunnels formed by the insect as it tranverses the branches. I would be comfortable with substituting "tunnel" for "coccoon" if that seems more palatable.

Woodturner9 (talk) 21:19, 29 September 2010 (UTC)

There are a few issues here: the definition of "what the goop is", Verifiability and also its relevance here.
Much as I respect Jeff Jewitt's woodfinishing skills, he's not an entomologist. Before claiming something is "a cocoon", then we need to reference that from an entomological WP:RS source, not a woodworker. Likewise any claims about sticky feet (which I'm not defending either).
Mostly though, I question relevance. There's no reason that a woodworking article needs to say more than "exuded by lac insects". It's good to avoid saying "lac beetles" (they aren't beetles) and "bugs" is a bit too broad. Scale insect is IMHO about the right level, because it explains why they bother extruding anything. Also they're a common garden pest that many readers will have encountered, albeit different species, but it demonstrates their mode of life. As there is (AFAIK) only one relevant species for commercial shellac, Kerria lacca, we should state that too. The rest of it is debatable. In "WoodWiki" I wouldn't. In a general encyclopedia, maybe we should do. But it's a close call - we don't desperately need huge detail here, yet we must remain reliably sourced and verifiable. Anything dubious must go, even if it leaves the definition quite generic and back to the "exuded from" level.
As to what it actually is, then I admit I'm running off my knowledge of the intimate life of the scale insect. However AIUI, they have a very sedentary life and remain static once feeding, gluing themself down with a waxy (and pesticide resistant) coat of sticklac. They don't pupate in cocoons, nor do they make tunnels. They don't even traverse the branches of trees, once established as adult. Although sticklac could be said to look as if it's covered in tubes and tunnels, those are actually adjacent and overlapping blobs from individuals, not one individual's constructed shelter.
Nice pic here BTW, but I can't find anything showing "tunnels" at all well. Andy Dingley (talk) 13:53, 30 September 2010 (UTC)

Horrible paragraph, History section[edit]

Paragraph 3 of "History" was full of grammatical errors, did not seem to connect logically to the preceding or following paragraphs, and contained mostly unsourced trivia so I've cut it out. It might be rephrased and reinserted at a more appropriate position, however:

In areas where small caskets or reliquaries were decorated, then a significant number of them were protected with shellac, and from an early period. Painting was done with egg tempera over gesso. Shellac was also used as an adhesive and sealer over inlay work, such as ivory or abalone inlay.

--lizardo_tx (talk) 03:19, 26 April 2009 (UTC)

Confectioner's glaze[edit]

Exactly why does "Confectioner's glaze" redirect to zein instead of here? If you Google Confectioner's glaze, nearly all of the results that you will see are shellac, not zein. ( See, for example ) It seems to me that this redirection could only have been arranged by someone in the zein industry; a possible violation of the NPOV policy. Oskay 06:00, 28 August 2006 (UTC) Oskay 8/27/2006


How did they ever find ENOUGH of the stuff to do what they do with it? Were there little beetle farms?—The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk)

Good question.. I was looking for a section saying that at some point we figured out how to synthetically produce it (or engineer e. coli to make it for us..) But apparently not. I found the following:
Cheers, Jimw338 (talk) 02:09, 3 February 2017 (UTC)

Dont merge with Lac[edit]

While Shellac is derived from lac insects, the types of people searching for info on shellac might not be interested in the bug. Wskitche 19:10, 19 May 2007 (UTC)

Should not be merged with Lac, although they should crosslink. There is a large woodworking community, in addition to food, etc. that would be adversely effected should they be merged, unless it is assured that a search will return information on both as it currently does. 22:16, 4 June 2007 (UTC)


"There is a risk that the harvesting process can scoop the insect up along with the secretion, leading to its death." Ummm...who cares? What a risk! KDR (talk) 17:04, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

Would you kill a cow just to get a single batch of milk? Would milk be as useful if there was chunks of dead cow in it? Think about it... -- Quiddity (talk) 19:54, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
Depends on the milk. Ha. But is a bug as valuable as a cow? The wording just makes it sound more catastrophic than it really is. KDR (talk) 00:02, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
We must respect all life, no matter how small. Wait, my immune system probably killed millions of bacteria today. Oh well. I agree somewhat that the wording is a bit off, "killing the insect" or something would be better than "leading to its death" - which truly does sound tragic. (talk) 00:47, 2 February 2008 (UTC)
The bug is valuable cuz it gives us a product, and the more it doesn't-die the more it can give us. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:30, 7 April 2008 (UTC)


There's a lot of useful information in here, but the article isn't the easiest in the world to read. I think it could do with being organised into sections (eg production, uses, and so on) in order to aid readability - I've tagged it with cleanup-reorganize for that reason. Hope it's alright. --saxsux (talk) 15:24, 2 April 2008 (UTC)


According to the article, "The word is a compound of the words "shell" and "lac" (lacquer)". Because this claim is unsourced, I believe this to be incorrect Original Research. The word "Lac" is from the common name of the bug. I expect (but cannot yet confirm) that the relationship to the word lacquer is either coincidental, or the word shellac predates the word lacquer. I am updating the article (with reference) accordingly. -Verdatum (talk) 18:38, 5 May 2008 (UTC)


It's an old usenet post of mine, the references are robust enough to make it wikiable, but the style's usenet rather than wiki. Have at it, if anyone wants to do the copyediting - I'm a little busy for the next few days Andy Dingley (talk) 02:30, 16 May 2008 (UTC)

There is some excellent stuff there, thank you. I did a cursory copyedit. I felt a bunch needed to be removed for being off-topic. A lot of that off topic material would be better stuited in other articles, such as varnish. There was some random references towards the end, but they weren't actually sourcing any facts so I removed them from the article. However, they look like they may contain excellent information, and if this is the case, I would love to see as many as possible worked into the article. For this reason, I'm pasting the ones I removed here for posterity,
  • Webb, Marianne. Lacquer: Technology and Conservation. ISBN 0750644125.  and Merrifield are pretty much essential.
  • Stalker and Parker (1688). Treatise on Japanning and Varnishing. Tiranti. (which is unreadable)
  • Dossie, Robert. Handmaid of the Arts. 
  • Watin. Watin.  will give you the techniques, although they're post-period and not intended as a historical survey.
  • Some other period handbooks that are easily available as reprints are
    • Cennini. ISBN 048620054X.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
    • Theophilus Theophilus. ISBN 0486237842.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
    • Alexis of Piedmonte (1550). Secrets of the Arts. 

I hope that's all of them. -Verdatum (talk) 08:46, 16 May 2008 (UTC)

WikiProject Food and drink Tagging[edit]

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Be fair, the things are crushed and then seived. See lac where the the same substance is described without the word shellac and without mention of its more common, eaten by kids use. Boo 8( ... POV fork. One article for "eaten by kids", the other for "filtered out of crushed insects" and no link between the two and yet the lac article is focused on the use made of the creature. This article misleads the reader to think that crushed beetle is not involved with this substance. ~ R.T.G 12:26, 3 February 2009 (UTC)

[This source] would appear to disagree with your portrayal. After all, destruction of the progenitors of next years crop is a poor business decision. --Belg4mit (talk) 22:41, 15 November 2011 (UTC)

Uses (on fruit)[edit]

I'd like to comment on the sentence "It is also used to replace the natural wax of the apple, which is removed during the cleaning process". I've read the source and I can't help to think that US Apple(R) (as everybody else in the industry) is providing an excuse to put on this wax. Let's be honest, the only reason to apply the wax, is to make the apple shiny, which we as consumer like to see when we do shopping. The wax cannot be removed by washing and brushing, because by nature the wax will not dissolve in water (unless they use soap of course). Same when you rinse your apple, you will not be able to remove the newly applied wax. Shellac is also applied on other fruits like citrus fruits by the way. Only if you buy organic fruit will you be assured of having no shellac on your fruit (although I've seen non-organic fruit in France with a clear message that no wax was used, I guess they have their reasons). I saw a Dutch documentary about this topic, filming the shellac farms and the fruit processing industry, and an Italian lemon producer was saying she doesn't put wax on her fruit because after that the fruit cannot breathe anymore, basically promoting her organic ones. As an experiment, try scraping of the wax off your apple before eating it. (talk) 10:28, 29 December 2009 (UTC)

Wax glazings help prevent dehydration (the Italian's "breathing" apparently), which is why certain long-storing tubers are also coated. --Belg4mit (talk) 22:41, 15 November 2011 (UTC)

References need improving[edit]

There are plenty of them, but mostly anecdotal ("I shellacked my handlebars, and it ROCKS") or handyman-product manufacturers' or vendors' sites, with more or less generic how-to advice. I don't see anything about the lac bug, or the harvesting and processing of shellac. Shellac chemistry points at the "Merk Index" which I presume means the Merck Index, but without access, I don't feel comfortable fixing that. I don't think I want to slap on a refimprove tag, but they do need improving. __ Just plain Bill (talk) 00:12, 1 April 2010 (UTC)

Skittles candy and Shellac[edit]

There is a link being made on the web to Bug resin and Skittles candy, which would be easy to connect. Shellac is food grade, it coats pills, Skittles are pill-shaped: (Aha Vegetarian! You ate bug resin!) It is traveling around the web like and Urban Legend. If it is true, a better reference is needed. The current ingredients,, according to the Wrigley Brands site, for the Original Flavor Skittles show as:SUGAR, CORN SYRUP, HYDROGENATED PALM KERNEL OIL, APPLE JUICE FROM CONCENTRATE, LESS THAN 2% CITRIC ACID, DEXTRIN, MODIFIED CORN STARCH, NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVORS, COLORING (INCLUDES YELLOW 6 LAKE, RED 40 LAKE, YELLOW 5 LAKE, BLUE 2 LAKE, YELLOW 5, RED 40, YELLOW 6, BLUE 1 LAKE, BLUE 1), ASCORBIC ACID (VITAMIN C). What is the ingredient name for food shellac? Group29 (talk) 13:46, 11 July 2010 (UTC)

It's called shellac, or confectioner's glaze --Belg4mit (talk) 22:41, 15 November 2011 (UTC)


Removed sentence about "dubiousness" of shellac in certain diets. The wording was weaselly, and assumed certain varieties of veganism or means of harvesting the shellac. --Belg4mit (talk) 22:34, 15 November 2011 (UTC)


Wasn't shellac an ingredient in hairspray in the 40s and 50s? I see no mention of it here. -- (talk) 02:12, 11 January 2014 (UTC)

Kerria lacca vs. Laccifer lacca[edit]

I see lots of sources talking about Laccifer lacca (like this, this, this, and many more), while the article currently only mentions Kerria lacca. Are both commonly used? Should the article mention both?

Sorry, never mind -- they're synonyms for the same species. I'll make this clear in the article, but others are welcome to remove the edit. Brian Tomasik (talk) 13:04, 3 July 2014 (UTC)

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