Bees use wax cappings in two different ways
Alena Bruce Krejčí's team from the Biology Centre CAS and the Faculty of Science of the University of South Bohemia focused on the permeability of wax cappings. In cooperation with the plant physiologist Jiří Kubásek, they measured the carbon dioxide permeability of brood and honey cappings for the first time.
Honey bees evolutionary adapted to use wax in two contrasting biological contexts: while wax of honey cappings is nearly impermeable to protect stores from fermenting, the wax of brood cappings have pores that allow high permeability of gases and volatiles to support brood development. Together with the data on the respiration of the bee larvae, the scientific team thus calculated how much carbon dioxide accumulates in the brood chambers. If the bees covered the living larvae with honey cappings, the developing brood would suffocate.
Similar principles also apply to bumblebees.
The study was published in the prestigious journal iScience.