The first bee born in captivity

The Synthetic Apiary proposes an alternative living arrangement for bees.

From the Series

There’s a massive bee decline worldwide. The health of the world’s pollinators is affected by various factors such as agricultural chemicals, disease and habitat loss. According to Mediated Matter, the advancement of non-standard bee environments has become increasingly important for their survival. One such experiment takes bees out of their natural habitat and places them into a specially designed apiary: stark white, temperature controlled and pesticide-free.

Mediated Matter - Synthetic Apiary

Mediated Matter is a group from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the United States. Their research focusses on designs inspired by solutions already found in nature. In the Synthetic Apiary, the group explores the possibility of a controlled space in which seasonal honeybees can thrive year-round.

By engineering light, humidity and temperature, the apiary simulates a perpetual spring environment. Bees are provided with synthetic pollen and sugared water and evaluated regularly for health and wellbeing.

Mediated Matter - Synthetic Apiary

“Minute 2:33 in the video documents the first birth in a synthetic environment: the only life this bee knows is an existence in the Synthetic Apiary,” explains the group.

Mediated Matter - Synthetic Apiary

It is further explained that the long-term goal is to “integrate biology into a new kind of architectural environment, and thereby the city, for the benefit of humans and eusocial organisms.”

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