“Bssssshatschibssssssshatschi!” This is what it sounds like when honey bee Annie goes about her work.
The 39-day-old suffers from a pollen allergy – a particularly tough bit of bad luck for someone in her industry.
“My grandparents on both sides were pollen collectors, my parents too – there was no question what I would do later on,” she explains with through watery compound eyes as she crawls along, panting on a chamomile flower.
“Well, somebody has to put nectar on the table for my family.”
Her parents noticed early on that something was wrong with her: At the age of nine days, little Annie showed her first allergic reactions when she came into contact with pollen.
“My trunk was running almost all the time. At first we thought it was a runny nose,” she recalls. But an allergy test finally brought the sad certainty.
Pollen allergy hits honey bees particularly hard. “You have to work with these substances at work all the time,” explains a fat bumblebee, who obviously has a clue.
“You know the saying: where honey is made, pollen flies.”
In addition to the rotten luck some practicalities: bees are too small to swallow hay fever tablets. Nasal spray would blow the petite insects away, eye drops would almost kill them through drowning and at the very least temporarily render them unable to fly.
Despite this, honeybee Annie accepts her fate with composure, even having the good temperament to hum while at work.
“I’m just trying to hold out … ah … achoo! I wanted to say – it should get better at the latest in summer because the pollen count subsides and I die anyway.”
Well, that’s good news! Hold on, little bee!