the Hive Prints (the process)

New work has been added to the gallery, my current body of work is concerned with the plight of the humble honeybee.

I have bee’n keeping bees for around twenty years now. Back when I first became an apiarist, it was a simple manner of ‘robbing the hives’ a couple of times each year to maintain an abundant supply of luscious honey. Not anymore!

For the past five years I have been experimenting with ways of working collaboratively with the bees, inserting prints into hives to have them build comb onto the work. Prints are removed when a desirable outcome has been achieved. Random, yet with utmost precision! Read on for more about this and images from the process.

I cannot imagine the undue stresses that our little winged friends now face with the arrival into Australia of pests and diseases that were previously unheard of here.

One of which is the South African ‘Small Hive Beetle’ (Aethina tumida). The beetle was first identified in Australia in 2002, Richmond NSW. The beetle has since spread along much of the east coast of Australia, from beekeepers moving their hives to follow blossoms and also infection of the beetle into wild bee colonies. The SHB decimates hives by beetle larvae eating their way through comb, pollen and honey. I have personally witnessed colony collapse through massive numbers of beetle larvae eating and defecating their way through my hives until what bees are left, are forced out of the hive.

We are yet to feel the impact of an even worse predator, an external parasitic mite known as Varroa destructor. Australia is thought to be the last remaining country on the planet to be free of Varroa to date and it is regarded as a matter of ‘when, not if’ this bee predator hits our shores. With bees pollinating about two thirds of our food crops, the arrival of this pest will be devastating to say the least!

My current body of artwork addresses this dilemma!

Here are images from the making of the Hive Prints –  the process of collaborating with bees…

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