Lonely Planet Writer

An artist is painting 50,000 honey bees in magnificent murals all over the world

An American artist has undertaken an ambitious project to paint thousands of honeybees in a selection of murals at different destinations all around the world.

The Good of The Hive Honey Bee Murals
Matthew Willey painting the first honeybee mural at Harold P.Curtis Honey Company in LaBelle, Florida. Image by Matthew Willey/The Good Of The Hive
The Good Of The Hive Murals Honey Bees
The mural helped inspire Matthew to continue his work on honey bees. Image by Matthew Willey/The Good Of The Hive
The Good of The Hive Honey Bee Murals
The first mural in LaBelle, Florida took Matthew ten weeks to complete. Throughout the process he said that busy honey bees would fly around him. Not only was he not stung once, he grew to love their company. Image by Matthew Willey/The Good Of The Hive

The Good of The Hive is an artistic initiative set up by mural painter Matthew Willey, with the goal of helping to raise awareness about the importance of honeybees to the environment. The project sees him aiming to personally paint murals that will collectively include 50,000 honeybees in total, the number necessary for a healthy beehive.

The Good Of The Hive Honey Bee Mural
Small hand painted honey bees make up a swarm at the Broadstone Sky Building in Seattle. Image by The Good Of The Hive

As well as highlighting the issue of the declining honeybee population, the project aims to celebrate the incredible and unique behaviour of the insects. Matthew said that the subject of his murals also acts as a metaphor for communities, showing the importance of how people collectively work together and share environments.

Honey Bee Murals The Good Of The Hive
Matthew paints honey bees on the back of a trailer at Burners and BBQ in North Carolina. Image by Joshua Niven /The Good Of The Hive
Honey Bee Murals The Good Of The Hive
The painting was done during a festival that saw 50 artists painting for a weekend. Image by Joshua Nivan/The Good Of The Hive

“Honeybees within the hive think collectively and their immune system is collective. The health of the individual is based on that of the greater population, whether it’s an actual honeybee hive or a community of human artists, kids in school or military veterans, the health and success of the individual relies heavily on connections within the group,” Matthew explains.

Honey Bee Murals
A mural on the outside of the famous Burt’s Bees in downtown Durham, North Carolina. Image by Matthew Willey/The Good Of The Hive

The project began a year and a half ago and, so far, Matthew has done murals in Florida and Washington as well as creating a stunning landscape painting covered in realistic life-sized honeybees for a client in North Carolina. He is planning to travel further afield in the coming months to paint honeybees in other countries around the world.

The Good of The Hive project also has an online store with a range of beautiful merchandise for sale including a skateboard deck, branded t-shirts and a honeybee swarm decal.

Bee Murals
A small wasp lands on the painting of a big bee. Image by Matthew Willey/The Good Of The Hive

Matthew Willey has spent twenty-four years painting murals across the United States.