Well, the staircase at work was anyway- thankfully it wasn't me being covered in bees seeing as how I reacted to that wasp sting but I couldn't miss out on the chance to quote the glorious Eddie Izzard now could I?
So this is how the story goes. I arrived at work yesterday morning, all bright and chipper at 7:30 (blurgh) to find that the south staircase was covered in bees. Honey bees to be precise, that had escaped from the beehive that we have about half way up the stairs. Someone, and by someone I mean some complete idiot that can only be labelled as 'a member of the public' as no one saw them doing it, removed the bluetac (yes, very technical I know, but it just so happens to be perfect for the job) that covers a wee hole in the tunnel leading from the beehive through the glass of the window and into the outside world. All this does is confuse the bees as as they are crawling through the tunnel they see bright light above them and go up instead of through. They then find themselves on the wrong side of the glass and flying about the museum- eek! There are two problems with this. Firstly the obvious one being that a member of the public or staff could get stung. We get told off quite a lot if this happens as I'm sure you can imagine- though how we are supposed to prevent a bee from stinging someone I don't know. Maybe I just haven't been conducted far enough into the entomologists circle to get to know the secret bee wrangling language. Anyway, secondly this leaves us with a lot of bees that are zipping up the inside of a twenty foot high window and it is next to impossible to get them down again. If you flap around too much they get spooked and release a defence chemical that alerts the others and you get even more coming out of the hive AND they start attacking you because they think that the hive is under threat. Big problemo.
On this occassion someone must have let the bees out quite late in the day as it hadn't been noticed by a member of staff in the museum. Thankfully only about 70 bees came through the hole this time- presumably because they didn't get spooked and discovered that there was no food to be had they were a bit more chilled out about the whole thing. What was really sad however was that most of them died over night as they would have spent the evening battering themselves against the glass in an attempt to reach the outside world again which uses up their little stock of bee juice (energy). Bees need to refuel all the time as they only have a short battery life. So there was a little drift of crunchy dead bees on the stairs. About 20 of them were just alive so I collected them up and gave them some breakfast of sugar water in an attempt to revive them. A few made it through I think. The rest I had to sweep up and bin though I kept some of the little bodies for my new displays so that their deaths would not be a total waste. It's just so annoying! I can't understand what it is that motivates people to do these kind of things. For some reason another favourite seems to be peeling the labels off of the insect tanks on the gallery. They last all of about a month before they get trashed no matter how much sticky tape and glue I use. Who comes to a museum to do these things???