By injuring the built comb and returning it to the bees to repair, I have found ways to incorporate text and imagery into the frames of honeycomb that would populate a normal hive. Each of these took multiple attempts, as timing is crucial, since you need to remove it before the queen lays brood in the repaired comb.
2012 19 3/4″ x 6 1/2″ x 4″ Honeycomb, Wood, Wire Studying the bees and the environment is an exercise in listening to the signals they give us, a type of symbolic communication. The prompt to “Listen” seemed apropos, and functions synaesthetically, allowing for the imagination to fill in the buzzing of the hive.
2012 19 3/4″ x 6 1/2″ x 2″ Honeycomb, Wood, Wire After being stung numerous times, it seemed appropriate to issue an apology to the bees, both for my clumsiness in tending their hive, and the difficulties they face as a result of human activity. In placing it in the hive, the bees repaired the cut comb, leaving behind the words — perhaps their apology to me for their stinging.
2011 19 3/4″ x 15″ x .5″ Honeycomb In my first attempt to do a “drawing” on the comb, I chose to stick colored wax onto the foundation in the hive’s frames. The top one represents the chemical symbol for Clothianidin, the pesticide that is the most likely culprit in Colony Collapse Disorder. The bottom one depicts the symbol for a cell phone, one of the early suspects, which was disproven in studies. The bees' response was to pick off the majority of the wax, leaving behind a stain.