The past three nights I've dreamt that I lived in an abandoned natural history museum. When the curators left, many of the specimens were left behind, some stuffed and even a few live animals. New discoveries were constantly being made by the new inhabitants. There were quite a few of us in residence there, though it was hard to tell who lived there and who was just hanging around. It had the feeling of a squat, only a little cleaner and more interesting for the exhibits.
An interior room had a few pools and some interesting shore birds were picking their way through the sand for bugs and such. Interesting how we all just left the animals to their devices and didn't really tread too much on their space. Someone must have been feeding them, too. It was a happy place, really.
But tonight's discovery was strange - how could we have missed this huge bee hive? At least, they looked like bees or like some kind of strange bee-wasp hybrid. They were quite yellow without any of the fuzz that most bees have, black pointy wings like a wasp, but a larger round abdomen, without any stinger at all.
Let's be clear - I love bees. The more I learn about them, the more I respect them. Do you know they vote by consensus? I highly value their place in our ecosystem and love their product. I'm concerned about the high numbers of mysterious bee deaths that have been recently found to be some kind of virus that could potentially kill out all bees, leaving farmers to figure out how to artificially pollinate over 75% of our food. (That figure might be wrong, but it's not far off.)
But when I saw this huge hive on the floor of the pool room, I became very concerned. My roommates felt it was fine for them to be there, but I thought, bees don't live inside - they belong outside where they can eat and pollinate and do their business. Also, these were strange looking bees and yes, I was concerned for my safety and the safety of the my housemates and the friendly, random drunks who hung out there. I didn't want anyone hurt.
I gently persuaded them to entertain the concept that I call someone who could remove the bees to an appropriate place - maybe even we could put the colony into hive boxes and harvest the honey? They started to like the idea. Then we walked over to a cabinet and found several specimens of what may have been the same variety of bee. They were in display boxes and one of the people with me said, do you want one of these so you can try to identify them? Yes, I thought that was a good idea. Except as I approached, some of the specimens started to move and one in particular looked like the hulk version of this bee. His exoskeleton was old looking and mottled - one might say battle-scarred. His head was black and shiny like a helmet and as I looked on I could swear he was armoring up. I turned and ran out of there as fast as I could, falling into the pool which seemed to get people's attention. The urgency I felt at getting out of there was so strong, I couldn't even say to anyone else, get out NOW. I just ran.
I woke in a sweat.