Bees

 

Bees

In 2015, Nocturnal Medicine became a caregiver to two hives of honey bees. Over a year, we monitored their communities for illness and took healing measures when necessary, provided food and shelter for the winter, bequeathed a queen unto a hive who had lost theirs, and split an overpopulated hive. We attuned ourselves to their expressions, learning how to read when they were calm, when they were verging on agitation. To our delight, we came to know how the hives had different temperaments, how one would object to an intervention that the other would sit calmly for, buzzing pleasantly around us while we did our work.

 Our two parties were united by the desire for honey (although our lust was for pleasure and theirs for survival), and this shared aim provided the basis for our interspecies meeting. The bees became our partners in biosynthetic productivity, both of us working within the provided human-techno scaffolding to create bee-generated abundance.

We attempted to enter into their rhythms, to meet their bio-problems with our technics. Mending and soothing and filling gaps as we worked, our role in their lives was clumsy, too-big and yet ignored. Post-operation, the lineage of intervention would dissolve into an undifferentiated armature, out of which would drip, slowly, sweetly, onto our outstretched tongues….

.

.

.

honey.

 
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Bees 1
 
 

Type _ Research metaphor

Time _  2015-2016

Location _ Hoffman Lab Roof, Harvard University

Collaborators _ Sarah Dendy, Stephanie Hsia, Cannon Ivers, Greg Morrow, Meghan Sandberg

 
Bee 3
 
 
 In use here is a bee smoker, a device used to calm bees through the emission of smoke. When a hive is under threat, bees release pheremones that communicate alarm to one another; the smoke hinders the bees’ sense of smell, reducing their ability to sense these pheremones and keeping them calm as the beekeeper works. It has also previously been believed that the smoke indicates to the bees a nearby forest fire, leading them to make survival preparations such as eating nectar instead of attacking, but this theory no longer has as much support.

In use here is a bee smoker, a device used to calm bees through the emission of smoke. When a hive is under threat, bees release pheremones that communicate alarm to one another; the smoke hinders the bees’ sense of smell, reducing their ability to sense these pheremones and keeping them calm as the beekeeper works. It has also previously been believed that the smoke indicates to the bees a nearby forest fire, leading them to make survival preparations such as eating nectar instead of attacking, but this theory no longer has as much support.

 
 
Honey 2
 
 A bee hive frame, the primary architecture of the human-made bee hive. The bees produce honeycomb on the frame’s surface.

A bee hive frame, the primary architecture of the human-made bee hive. The bees produce honeycomb on the frame’s surface.

 
 
 
Bees 2
 
 
 
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Making A Candy Board (A Hive’s Winter Food Source):

1. Make or buy a candy board frame. This is a simple wooden frame filled with wire mesh, with a .5” hole in one side for a bee passageway.

2. Measure out 16 pounds of sugar and place in a container.

3. Measure out 3 cups of water.

4. Slowly pour the water into the sugar, mixing the water in thoroughly as you pour. Pause your pouring frequently to be sure everything is becoming one substance.

5. Place a small block or other barrier object inside the candy board, in front of the hole. The block should be approximately 2”by 2”.

6. Spread the sugarwater substance on the mesh of the candy board, evenly covering the whole surface.

7. Wait about 24 hours for the sugarwater to dry completely.

8. Once dry, install the candy board in your hive.

 
 
 
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 Preparing to treat the hives for varroa mites using cardboard strips soaked in natural hop compounds (Hopguard)

Preparing to treat the hives for varroa mites using cardboard strips soaked in natural hop compounds (Hopguard)