A swarm of bees might be the stuff of nightmares but curators of a new exhibition want us to know that bees mean us no harm.
"People think that swarms are all these bees attacking you but it's really about an organism reproducing," said beekeeper Nicholas Dowse.
Dowse's studio Honey Fingers has teamed up with creative publishing platform Many Many to curate the Swarm Trap exhibition at Nishi Gallery from June 30. They asked 11 designers, from architects to fashion designers, to build little homes for bees so that they don't set up shop in inappropriate places.
"We're trying to make for them temporary shelters so they get saved from the pest exterminator. They've all been given the same brief and their responses are quite varied in their approach," he said.
Australia is experiencing the golden age of beekeeping. While the rest of the world's bees are suffering from Colony Collapse Disorder and Varroa destructor mites, Australia's bees are living wild and largely disease-free.
"We have a really strong, robust, wild gene pool that has been breeding over generations and generations," said Dowse.
After the gallery exhibition, the swarm traps will be placed in the bush between Melbourne and Canberra in the hope of catching some wild bees.
On the opening night at Hotel Hotel's Nishi Gallery, the public will get the first glimpse of the collection of swarm traps and be able to sample honeycomb from the hotel's local hives. There will also be Dowse's signature honey old fashioned cocktails.
"It will be a time to get together to share conversations about the works and a larger conversation about the bees and the environment," said Dan Honey, director of Hotel Hotel's cultural program.
And if you're inspired to catch your own bees, Hotel Hotel will be running a swarm trap building workshop on August 27 led by Nicholas Dowse.
Swarm Trap is showing at Nishi Gallery, New Acton from June 30-July 10. Free entry. See hotel-hotel.com.au.