“In a great big box?”
“Yeah they have their own sorta hive out in the yard”
“And they don’t like leave?”
“No they think they live there”
“Oh, you’re so brave, I don’t think I could ever live with a whole hive of them so close to me”
Barbara looked at her new friend with respect, and continued “I think I’m allergic to humans!”
As they buzzed casually through the sun-dappled shade of the oak trees Alma sighed and explained: “It’s common to think one is allergic to humans but it’s usually just because of the smoke they like to blow into our hives, and feelings of irritation are just a normal reaction to having humans close to the hive, but you can get used to it.”
“But what about those ‘killer humans’ I used to hear about on the news??”
“Oh they’re real but not as common as the media makes it out to be. In fact having our own humans keeps the killer humans away! Research shows killer humans are much more likely to show up if the local humans have been unaware of your hive’s presence for awhile”
“That’s really counterintuitive”
“I know. Humans, what can I say”
“So you can manage your humans okay?”
“Yes we just sting them a little bit whenever they’re misbehaving and they eventually learn to be very well behaved. They maintain a nice flower garden for us and make medicines for us and in return we give them some honey.”
“How do they make these medications?”
“Oh I don’t know, I think it’s the weird stuff they eat, and then they probably secrete the stuff back in their hive.”
“Hm I suppose that makes sense”
“So for example if we are all feeling a bit woozy and think there’s a case of, you know, the nosema going around, all we have to do is paint our porch polka dot and the humans come out shortly with some sugar syrup with nosema medicine mixed in.”
“Oh wow, that’s nice. Why polka dots?”
“They think it means we’re going to the loo on our own porch”
“I know! Humans."
"Well, I've got to go the other way from here, it was nice talking to you!"
Barbara watched for a minute as Alma flew towards her hive, which looked tiny beside a huge human-hive, then she shook her head in disbelief and turned to fly home.
I'm in Portland, Oregon, this morning for a job interview as head beekeeper with a larger agricultural enterprise you have probably heard of, wish me luck! ::crosses fingers:: [update!]