Halloween Story Nectarist: Beau and the Silent Killer
Beau has almost finished her day job, and is looking forward to the Halloween party that will take place this evening in the beehive. Unfortunately, a killer is lurking, who plans to strike tonight. Can Beau and the bees escape the terrible fate that awaits them?
Halloween Story Nectarist: Beau and the Silent Killer
Beauhas almost finished her day job, and is looking forward to the Halloween party that will take place this evening in the beehive. Unfortunately, a killer is lurking, who plans to strike tonight. Can Beau and the bees escape the terrible fate that awaits them?
I had almost finished my day job, as it was starting to get darker. It was already autumn but that didn’t keep the weather from being treacherously warm for the past few days. That meant I still had to keep watch at the flight board. Fortunately, I didn't mind that much, at least I could escape the tense atmosphere that prevailed in the beehive for a while. After all, the Queen was completely confused by the terrible weather of the past few months: rain, sun, rain, sun. It seemed like an annoying game.
Every one wanted to get rid of the wailing. The entire colony had already started wondering whether they should just replace the Queen for someone else that complained less… Unfortunately, they had already chased all the male bees out of the hive several weeks age. The odds that one was still alive was minimal. Result? They had to make it through the winter with the current queen.
I was quickly yanked out of my dark thoughts by a yellow and black striped ghost that appeared out of nowhere to my left. Without thinking, I signaled my fellow bees, who came out 30 at a time, ready to give their lives in a heroic battle against their natural enemy. In no time we were ready in the last evening sun; our stingers outstretched, venom pumping through our glands, our abdomens lifted up.
To our great surprise it wasn't a wasp, it was Clothilde from the beehive next to ours who beeped “TRICK OR TREAT!!!”. She had rolled through the bright yellow pollen and dressed as a wasp. With a nervous laugh, one of our guards came out and passed some honey through her tongue. Clothilde took it and flew to the next closet where the guards were in the same condition as us.
Reinhilde sat next to me sighed and muttered: “Let Halloween be over soon!”. I honestly didn't share her opinion. At last we could have a party in our beehive, that was only allowed once! The story went that 100 days ago, especially for this day, the pumpkin flowers were flown en masse. Delicious pumpkin pollen, pumpkin nectar as much as you could drink, candles made from our sweat to decorate the hive with a cozy atmosphere. I had never looked forward to anything so much in my short life: and I desperately needed some well-deserved rest. Because honestly, I felt like I was working myself to death, and I wouldn't be the first one to have that happen to me.
When I finally went back inside it was clear that I wasn't the only one who had been looking forward to the party. There was an exuberant atmosphere and the most cheerful buzz. Even the queen had stopped complainting and was in high spirits, her court was cleaning and feeding her extra thoroughly.
I walked around one last time and went to the center of the party, where most of our brood nest used to be but now stores most of the honey. Suddenly I saw Leonie lying motionless on the floor. I flew at her in panic as fast as I could. The others didn't notice, the party was in full swing. I inspected Leonie's body for stitches, with or without a venom bag, but found nothing.
I sank down next to her in a shocked an sobbing state of mind. I didn't understand it; she was only 30 days old. That's way too young to die like this already, I thought. And Leonie was the last one to work herself to death… It occurred to me that the cornfield was nearby, and she might have been poisoned. But when I inspected her tongue, that scenario came crumbling down as well. I racked my head, but couldn't think of anything else. It must have been malicious. Was there a murderer, or worse, a monster among them?
I had to figure this out before the night was over and before more innocent ladies gave their lives. Thoughts hadn't buzzed in my head yet and the next one fell six inches from her. This time it was an elderly maid, Marie-Thérèse. I dashed towards her. With a deep sigh, she breathed her last and died in my arms, nothing more than a dull glint in her eyes, enhanced by the light around her.
With every second that passed, my panic increased. I looked around bewildered and almost saw them collapse, they lay dead on the ground. What is happening here?! As fast as my wings could carry me, I flew to my best friend Myriam. She would know what to do. Myriam was the wisest bee I knew, she always flew the longest flights and even managed to escape a hornet.
At the 582nd cell I finally ran into them. I quickly laid out the full story, as succinctly as I could. Myriam didn't hesitate for a second and immediately followed me downstairs. But when I got there, I encountered a real battlefield. Hundreds of our friends lay dead on the hard galvanized wire mesh. Panic threatened to overwhelm me, I breathed hard and loud and for the first time in my life, drops came from my faceted eyes.
Myriam tried to calm me down but I completely zoned out: everything became blurry and I saw everything through 1000 eyes at once. A sharp jab in my body brought me back to reality, Myriam had stabbed me. Finally I heard what she said: “Look better! This was not a monster, this is much worse!”. I turned Leonie's body over, and saw something we all feared. There they were, five who had sucked her dry at once, hidden between her folds. The leeches, with a name as terrible as their deeds: The Varroas! Their worst enemy had chosen this very night to return to their closet.
The stories passed down from generation to generation turned out to be true. The previous war with these vile creatures had almost killed the entire colony. Myriam didn't hesitate a second longer and flew out of the beehive, I followed her in a daze. Screaming, I asked where she was flying to.
As soon as I got outside, the cold wind wrapped me around my wings. This was madness, I thought to myself! It had to be almost 8 degrees outside. Far too cold to get on the flying board, let alone to fly out. But Myriam persevered and immediately made a hard left at the 1485th blade of grass. She flew to a poorly sealed white bucket that had old signs on it that none of us could read.
I saw another X and a few U's but Myriam was certain of her choice. She filled her hairs with the white powder and urged me to do the same. It wasn’t the time for asking questions. My wings could stop at any moment, the cold was paralyzing. Panicked and blank, I dove straight into the white powder and turned back toward the colony.
Once there, Myriam immediately flew to the candles, which were now only a few millimeters high. She threw in the white powder. White smoke rose up immediately. It hit some of our sisters right to the body. Screaming and roaring, the dozens of mites let go and crashed into the hard metal at the bottom. The smoke had damaged their paws and they couldn't hold on anymore.
Our sisters, realizing what was happening, rushed outside, chasing Myriam, who went to get another load of powder. In no time, the floor of our house was covered with red dots, crying helplessly for our fats and protein bodies. With great disgust we pushed them into the holes in our bottom, until we heard them fall dully on our bottom plate.
I fell into Myriam's arms and we passionately passed each other some honey. Our colony was saved and the party could finally begin, or so I thought. Unfortunately, due to all the commotion, the temperature in the beehive had dropped by as much as 5 degrees!
Now we had to vibrate against each other all night long to get the heat back into the beehive… What a bee can suffer…