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Bees seal the beehive with propolis to protect the colony from the elements, such as rain and cold winter drafts.

Propolis functions may include:

Reinforce the structural stability and reduce vibration

Provide improved thermal insulation to the hive and reduce water loss

Provides protection from pathogens, via anti-fungal and antibacterial properties.

Bees comprise of eusocial colonies, the highest level of organization of sociality and are characterized by cooperative brood care, (including care of offspring from other individuals), and a division of labour of overlapping generations. The bee is considered a superorganism, a social unit where division of labour is highly specialised and where individuals are not able to survive by themselves for extended periods. A superorganism can be defined as "a collection of agents which can act in concert to produce phenomena governed by the collective”.

What can bees teach us about ourselves? What, perhaps more importantly, can we learn from bees? 


See also, Interview with a Bumble Bee.



Propolis, or bee glue, is a resinous mixture that honey bees produce by mixing saliva and beeswax with exudate gathered from tree buds, sap flows, or other botanical sources. The chemical composition and nature of propolis depend on environmental conditions and harvested resources. Honey bees are opportunists, gathering what they need from available sources, and detailed analyses show that the chemical composition of propolis varies considerably from region to region, along with the vegetation.


3D Printing

Concrete is the closest propolis equivalent human implemented product. Its aggregate can also be sourced locally. Construction 3D Printing (c3Dp) or 3D Construction Printing (3DCP) refers to various technologies that use 3D printing as a core method to fabricate buildings or construction components. Alternative terms for this process include "additive construction." "3D Concrete" refers to concrete extrusion technologies whereas Autonomous Robotic Construction System (ARCS), large-scale additive manufacturing (LSAM), or freeform construction (FC) refer to other sub-groups.

At construction scale, the main 3D-printing methods are extrusion (concrete/cement, wax, foam, polymers), powder bonding (polymer bond, reactive bond, sintering), and additive welding.

A number of different approaches have been demonstrated to date, which include on-site and off-site fabrication of buildings and construction components, using industrial robots, gantry systems, and tethered autonomous vehicles. Demonstrations of construction 3D printing technologies have included fabrication of housing, construction components (cladding and structural panels and columns), bridges and civil infrastructure, artificial reefs, follies, and sculptures.

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