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German scientists of the Universität Würzburg present electron microscopic images of holes in the propolis layer online among a theory of their formation and effect. It is stated that bees create these holes on purpose to ensure the removal of moisture by water vapor diffusion. Supposedly, they achieve an effect such as that of functional clothing (like Gore-Tex) by this means that allows water vapor diffusion but prevents the permeability to water in its liquid form. Several questions arise from the article. I consider this theory in detail here.
 

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Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
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Well, the theory is interesting, but I tend to agree with you that the proportion of area that breaths to the proportion of area that does not is very different than gore-tex. The holes do appear to be purposeful, but not enough to match their theory of breath-ability.
 

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How would bees make holes that small is my question, seems more like an artifact of construction or of the materials used.
 

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Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
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>seems more like an artifact of construction or of the materials used.

That seems possible, but I don't see how propolis would make such evenly spaced holes. Crystallization would seem to be one possibility for them to be naturally occurring, but I haven't seen crystallization leave such open holes before.
 

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I am late joining this site but liked your detailed review of the proposed hypothesis. I have been studying (retired backyard stuff) the subject of propolis in combination with temperature, humidity / RH, CO2. I have just succeeded this year in creatinga heavily propolized interior surfaces using a piece of "Duck Cloth" or 12 ounce cotton based canvass as an inner cover, 2-inch foam top cover and rough saw inner surfaces of the hive boxes. I wondered about the impact on RH as I only vent / diffuse through the bottom entrance with a screened bottom board. I was talking to a Gortex plant manager about a project when he told me the Gortex / teflon porosity feature was discovered by accident. Two employees stretching the material by running in opposite directions was the explanation (sneakers required). Thanks you for the detail explanation and review.
 
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