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…
Related projects: An Elegy for Insects
Location: Hoffman Lab Roof, Harvard University
Collaborators: Sarah Dendy, Stephanie Hsia, Cannon Ivers, Greg Morrow, Meghan Sandberg
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.