Challenge #02958-H035: Not That Harmful

Aboard a station, a man is raising a small number of bees. Yes people are frightened, yes they complain to the management. Management sends security. The man explains how these bees, though more for the safety of the bees than the people around them are being kept in a special enclosure filled with growing plants, are not the kind that are able to sting. And shows how to make friends with stingless bees.


There are many varieties of bees and there is a type of bee that produces honey that actually do not sting. They have no stingers. They can, if provoked, give a painful bite, but the bites are not venomous, they just hurt. They are many that are far, far more docile than even European bees. The problem is they do not produce very much honey at any one time. Which is why they're not often kept as honeybees by most who raise bees because of their very low production. They are, none-the-less, very fascinating. -- Apiary

[AN: I actually met some of these guys! They're more the size of fruit flies and don't even register as bees to the casual observer. Their hives are firkin TINY and I'm a little bit in love]

It took Biota Management some time to find the nest and, given how it was built, only a little further time to find the apiarist. There, in their personal quarters, was not merely a vast array of Deathworlder plantlife, but a multitude of very, very small hives. It doesn't take many hives at all to be a multitude when bees are involved. Three is sufficient. Human Baz had five. None of them were bigger than a shoe box. Some of them were barely bigger than a chocolate box[1].

They tried to arrest her, of course, because balancing a closed environment is a serious job and the least little thing can tip an entire ecology into utter chaos. Anyone bringing in unauthorised and uncleared life forms was in for a heap of trouble. Public Endangerment was just the beginning. Unfortunately, Human Baz had an unbreakable defence - the proper paperwork.

Folders of it. Reams of it. Miles and miles of red tape. If put into physical form, it would have occupied two and a half moving boxes. Human Baz had dotted every I and crossed every T. Slowly. Methodically. Carefully. Including registering the swarms as pets so she could go through all of the testing necessary to be certain that the bees were as harmless to the stations' biota as they seemed. One of those tests was the release of one sterile hive in a restricted zone, with protections to be sure that they didn't interfere with any other systems.

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