The Artificial Apiary Revisited | Unhealthy Beekeeping Weblog


I posted this piece a few years in the past, but it surely’s timeless. I used to be reminded of this weblog submit when my WordPress splash alarm went off – somebody was linking to this web page on their very own weblog. That’s OK, after all. The thought right here is to throw concepts out into the ether and see who could make use of them. Since my story describes a dystopian apiary, it feels applicable to have it included in this piece on Synthetic Intelligence at a Vancouver artwork gallery. Get pleasure from my piece, under, then hop on over to Mad, unhealthy, and harmful to know. for a cool take a look at fashionable artwork.

Right here’s my Artificial Apiary story. The video at the top of this hyperlink is nice, however the entire idea is bizarre. It’s a man-made, artificial apiary. I’ll rank it with the Move(TM)Hive for a purpose that can change into obvious in a second. However the bizarre idea we’re is a man-made indoor dwelling area for frolicking honey bees.

Most beekeepers just like the pure contact of wooden, the style of honey, the buzzing within the ears, and the sticky wax on the fingers. I assume that’s one of many many causes that I’m towards the dreadful honey-on-tap hive. The Move(TM)Hive is ideal for a man-made plastic world – a turn-the-tap and right here’s-your-honey mentality. Nicely, the artificial apiary I’m about to assessment needs to be crammed with circulation hives. After which forgotten.


In ArchitectureDaily’s piece, known as “Neri Oxman + Mediated Matter Create Artificial Apiary to Fight Honeybee Colony Loss”, we study a man-made apiary that appears like a Star Trek holodeck.

“Laptop,” calls for Captain Picard, “make me an apiary.” And that is what he will get: a bizarre white world of perpetual spring the place bees have an endless provide of sugar water and faux pollen. You see, Jean Luc Picard forgot to order bushes and grass and flowers and stuff.

Common readers of this weblog know that I rant towards silliness at any time when I discover it, but I’ve bought a smooth spot for expertise and design. As Neri Oxman says, the artificial apiary is only a ‘proof of idea’ – investigating whether or not bees could be saved alive in a man-made setting. I perceive the design experiment. It’s attention-grabbing and laudable. However bizarre, from a beekeeper’s perspective.

Proof of idea was established way back when business beekeepers (together with a few of my buddies) started parking tens of hundreds of colonies in big wintering warehouses the place temperature, gentle and humidity are managed.  Bees can survive in a man-made area, we already know that. To me, the artificial apiary appears an excessive amount of like a dystopian future – some warlord has captured two hives and two beekeepers and has put them in his man cave whereas simply exterior his partitions, Paris has been incinerated in a nuclear warfare. Or one thing.

The article in regards to the Artificial Apiary (“to fight honeybee colony loss”) duly notes that seven (of the world’s 22,000) bee species have been positioned on the endangered species listing and this experiment factors the best way to fight honey bee colony loss. Fortuitously, honey bees are literally rising in quantity, although another species are, actually, threatened. Had the designers finished their homework, they could have chosen one of many threatened bee species, a pleasant bumblebee, for instance, however that’s one other subject.


In a sensible sense, the artificial apiary fails on many fronts: Bees will survive a number of months on concoctions of sugar syrup and substitute pollen, however they want a pure number of amino acids and minerals to really thrive. They want propolis and floral pollen. They want a ceiling 100 metres excessive and a 2-kilometre hallway if drone and queen will mate, or they’ll die after the outdated queen dies. They want a man-made solar that travels throughout the sky, in any other case, the bees can be interested in synthetic lights and gained’t return to their hive. They want flowery meadows, recent water, open skies. They want a greater holodeck.

Anyway, I hope that you’ll try the video and the story. I truthfully appreciated the movie. The pictures is good – even when the whole idea is, effectively, a bit bizarre.  And realizing that the bees gained’t survive like this, all of it turns into macabre.

h/t Robert

About Ron Miksha

Ron Miksha is a bee ecologist working on the College of Calgary. He’s additionally a geophysicist and does a little bit of science writing and running a blog. Ron has labored as a radio broadcaster, a beekeeper, and Earth scientist. (Ask him about seismic waves.) He is primarily based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.


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