HomeBeekeepingThe Artificial Apiary Revisited | Dangerous Beekeeping Weblog

The Artificial Apiary Revisited | Dangerous Beekeeping Weblog

I posted this piece a few years in the past, nevertheless it’s timeless. I used to be reminded of this weblog put up 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 concept 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 on this piece on Synthetic Intelligence at a Vancouver artwork gallery. Take pleasure in my piece, under, then hop on over to Mad, dangerous, and harmful to know. for a cool have a look at fashionable artwork.

Right here’s my Artificial Apiary story. The video on the finish of this hyperlink is nice, however the entire idea is bizarre. It’s a synthetic, artificial apiary. I’ll rank it with the Movement(TM)Hive for a purpose that may change into obvious in a second. However the bizarre idea we’re taking a look at is a synthetic indoor dwelling house 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 suppose that’s one of many many causes that I’m in opposition to the dreadful honey-on-tap hive. The Movement(TM)Hive is ideal for a synthetic plastic world – a turn-the-tap and right here’s-your-honey mentality. Properly, the artificial apiary I’m about to evaluate must be stuffed with stream 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 synthetic apiary that appears like a Star Trek holodeck.

“Pc,” 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 pretend 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 in opposition to silliness at any time when I discover it, but I’ve received a tender 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 stored alive in a synthetic 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 industrial beekeepers (together with a few of my associates) started parking tens of hundreds of colonies in enormous wintering warehouses the place temperature, gentle and humidity are managed.  Bees can survive in a synthetic house, we already know that. To me, the artificial apiary appears to be like 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 battle. Or one thing.

The article concerning 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 way in which to fight honey bee colony loss. Luckily, honey bees are literally rising in quantity, although another species are, in truth, threatened. Had the designers executed their homework, they might have chosen one of many threatened bee species, a pleasant bumblebee, for instance, however that’s one other difficulty.


In a sensible sense, the artificial apiary fails on many fronts: Bees will survive just a few months on concoctions of sugar syrup and substitute pollen, however they want a pure number of amino acids and minerals to truly 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 synthetic solar that travels throughout the sky, in any other case, the bees shall be drawn to synthetic lights and received’t return to their hive. They want flowery meadows, recent water, open skies. They want a greater holodeck.

Anyway, I hope that you’ll take a look at the video and the story. I actually favored the movie. The images is sensible – even when the whole idea is, nicely, a bit bizarre.  And understanding that the bees received’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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