Memorandum for
Re-Envisioning Apiculture

Protecting the Source, Inspiring the Future

The Anthropocene is a wake-up call for fundamental change and innovative initiatives in a time of crisis. It is an opportunity for the creation of ‘symbiotic narratives’ that not only place the very basic needs of honeybees at the center of our concern, but also bring to light the bio-dynamic plasticity and adaptability of honeybees as a keystone species and cultural innovator. In this context, the vision of the wilding of honeybees not only leads to the rehabilitation of natural and complex biotic systems but also re-calibrates our capacities of perception and cultural identity as humans.

The intent of this memorandum is to: 1) create a platform for the creative process of re-envisioning apiculture as a global movement; 2) define broad parameters for arboreal apiculture, wilding, and natural apian nests; 3) and explore the alchemical relationship between Humans, Apis Mellifera, and Terra (Earth). We hope to contribute towards innovative thinking beyond inherited rigid categories and capacities.  If you are interested in networking and collaborating or would like more information, you can email us at michael@apisarborea.org

Wilding

The term “wilding” pertaining to honeybees encompasses the big ideas and grand visions of the natural apicultural community while catalyzing actions for a fundamental revisioning of apiculture. It promotes the restoration of the physiological and morphological apian dynamics and integrates current entomological research data on wild, unmanaged Honeybees. Wilding is an understanding of the biotic dynamics and interconnection of all life forms and adapts the notion of holobionts (assemblages of different species that form ecological units) as an innovative framework used in life sciences. Considering Apis Mellifera in this way is a phase shift towards an understanding of sympoietic systems, which are characterized as homeorhetic, evolutionary, distributively controlled yet unpredictable and adaptive.

Indigenous Apian Nest

The parameters of the indigenous apian nest (e.g. naturally occurring, primordial nest sites) are a co-evolutionary trait and represent an inseparable symbiotic relationship and ecological biotic unit of Apis Mellifera (extended phenotype). The natural nest site represents a keystone of apian health as it is instrumental in providing conditions for the unfolding and integrity of complex processes related to its morphology, physiology, immunity, host-parasite evolution, and emotional health.

Apis Arborea continues the evolving conversation to expand the concept of wilding of Apis Mellifera in view of the natural apian nest: 1) the apian nest site and its integral qualities are intimately connected to all apian life gestures and instinctual preferences; 2) the natural nest favors biotic processes such as the formation of comb and represents a keystone of apian health as it is instrumental for providing systemic conditions for the unfolding and rebalancing of complex processes related to immunity and host-parasite evolution; and, 3) the natural apian nest site is also the foundation for emotional health and resiliency of the aggregate hive apparent in survival rates of wild and “unmanaged” populations of Apis Mellifera.

Apis Arborea considers the primordial apian nest conditions an essential element for the rehabilitation of the natural life gestures of Apis Mellifera and foundational for a vision of preservation and conservation.

Tissue

As the nest site is both symbiotic and reflective of all physical and physiological processes of the apian organism and aggregate hive consciousness, it follows that the nest itself is the locus of all apian tissue. “Tissue” is proposed as a term to encompass all constituents, including individual bees, comb, propolis, metabolites, microbiome, and symbionts like wax moths. We suggest studying the plasticity and flexibilities of apian physiological processes as functions of ‘metaplasia’ in a similar fashion to regenerative tissue or stem cells (e.g. a change into a new form; a reversible transformation of one differentiated tissue function to another).

The indigenous nest is the locus for the primordial formation, shape, and growth of comb as tissue and provides the ideal conditions for an organic unfolding of comb as a central, multifunctional, and dynamic apian organ. The natural nest and tissue give rise to the dynamic interplay between the nest cavity, shape, kind of entrance and location, and the apian morphological adaptations and growth patterns. The individual bees come together as part of a single effective field that transcends their boundaries as single entities – they come together as an emergent and highly ephemeral self – distributed over many bodies (Kuhn). These processes of ‘becoming with others’ as a holobiont change what it means to be alive for Apis Mellifera, humans, and our ever-interacting ecosystems.

Arboreal apiculture and TreeNests

Arboreal apiculture and TreeNests are an ancient interface between honeybees and humans and a contemporary measure of protection and preservation. They are at the heart of wilding & conservation efforts, and a resource for environmental policies regarding Apis Mellifera. TreeNests rehabilitate the indigenous arboreal nest (hive), which constitutes the primordial and natural apian nest environment. They support nest integrity and mimic natural nest parameters. Those parameters of the apian nest in trees are the guiding principles for interaction, management, research, and any designs of man-made apian nests (hives).

Contemporary entomological research

Contemporary entomological research documents the extraordinary resiliency and levels of health present in wild populations of honeybees in indigenous nests and in undisturbed ecosystems. TreeNests and arboreal apiculture are the statutes of a holistic and bee-centric approach by mimicking and rehabilitating natural nest conditions. Apis Arborea works on behalf of Apis Mellifera through 1) cooperation with local neighboring apian communities, silviculture, and local and state parks; 2) protection of wild apian nest sites; 3) promotion of preservation programs for installations of natural nest sites (Treenests and similar) in commercial, educational, artistic, and environmental programs.

Holistic Apiculture

The parameters of the apian nests in living trees become the guiding principle for interaction, management, research, and designs of man-made apian nests. The gesture of wilding aims to find congruence with natural nest integrity. It attempts to grant and integrate (animal-) birth rights such as freedom of natural procreation and dispersal in local watersheds.  Apis Arborea works within the natural apicultural community to ask: how can we protect the source and inspire the future and lay the foundation for holistic apiculture?

Walking complex and diverse realities

Through the holistic lens of wilding and TreeNests, support efforts of Apis Mellifera must also encompass the interrelationships between apian nests and the surrounding ecosystem, in regards to nest loci, nest density, forage conditions, climate zones, and other ecological factors. Apis Arborea proposes to codify and promote these interrelationships on behalf of Apis Mellifera through an interdisciplinary group of experts, including academic thought leaders/scientists of apiculture, mycology, regenerative medicine, environmentalists, non-linear visionaries, artists, and policymakers. We dream to create, develop, and synthesize a community-wide lexicon, infrastructure, and supporting web to evolve our holistic interaction with Apis Mellifera.

If you are interested in networking and collaborating or would like more information, you can email us at michael@apisarborea.org