Bees are gentle, hard-working animals that help plants pollinate and produce sweet honey to survive the long cold winters.
Bees in space, on the other hand, are far more aggressive, but all the more useful: since there is no winter in space (as far as we know) all honey produced by bees can be harvested, making beekeeping really easy. They have also outgrown carrying pollen, a largely obsolete task given the small quarters and relatively strong air currents on space stations, and have since evolved to help plants in their fruition phase, granting boost to the potency of their products. They are a great addition to any hydroponic farm that can afford them.
The birds and the bees
To start keeping your bees, you will need to procure yourself a queen bee . They can be obtained from the special beekeper starter pack crate, available at Cargo for 1500 points. The crate contains:
- The queen bee.
- An Apiary for the bees to live in, as well as 3 honeycomb frames .
- A beekeeper suit, which will protect one person from bee stings.
- A flyswatter, a very robust tool against small, fast insects.
Additional suits can be ordered for 1000 points a pair. Additional apiaries can be built for 40 wooden planks each, and additional frames for 5 planks. Each apiary can carry maximum 3 frames. BEE careful: the Apiary from a crate will deploy as soon as the crate is opened. You will need to unwrench the bolts if you want to move it.
Once you have deployed your Apiary, pick up the queen bee and gently intruce her to her new home. Assuming some plants are around to sustain a hive, she will get right to work.
Once your queen bee is at home producing the workforce and there is plenty of plants to procure nectar from, it's time to reap the benefits.
Examining an apiary will present you with information regarding the colony:
- Resources: goes from 0 to 100, and reflects how much nectar the bees have currently stored.
- Resources towards a cell: in percentage points, reflects how much of the needed nectar for honeycomb production has been harvested.
- Resources towards a bee: in percentage points, reflects how much of the needed nectar for a new bee has been harvested. Always half of a honeycomb.
- Total honeycombs: How many honeycombs are currently in the Apiary. If this line isn't present, there are none.
Bees are half as cheap for an hive to produce than a honeycomb, and though their production is based on chance, it is very likely for a hive to overproduce bees as long as they have room for more.
The maximum number of bees a hive can support is half the maximum number of honeycombs. Since each honeycomb frame can support 10 honeycomb clusters, and each apiary can house 3 frames, the maximum number of bees is either 5, 10 or 15, and the maximum number of honeycombs is 10, 20 or 30.
For early honey production, it is advised to put just one frame in the apiary.
To harvest honey, simply remove a honeycomb frame. Each honeycomb cluster provides 5 units of honey once processed in a grinder.
The fruits of our labour
So, what CAN you do with honey?
Mead, a fermented drink from honey produced with universal enzymes. Good alcohol content.
Honeybun, a pastry.
Honey nut bar, a healthy snack made with oats, nut free.
Healing wounds. Eating honey heals you about as quickly as Omnizine, without the risk of an immediate overdose. Keep in mind that you can still go into a diabetic (sugar) coma from eating huge amounts.
Surgery! Honey is the strongest available disinfectant, improving the success rate for surgery steps by 60%. You can splash it on, put it in a spray bottle or make a patch to apply it.
More bees, MORE BEES
Once you have a Queen Bee, you don't need to order more from cargo - you can force them to reproduce by mitosis!
To do so, you need Royal Bee Jelly, made from 40u of honey and 10u of Unstable Mutagen (resulting in 5u). Injecting the queen with at least 5u will make her split into two bees, allowing you to expand your bee empire. You can then build more Apiaries out of wood to house them.
Miracles of biology
What separates Space Bees from normal bees is that they can bio-synthesize any reagent!
By simply injecting a queen bee with 5u of the desired chemical, the queen will transfer the mutation to all its bees; they will then additionally inject a small amount of that chemical when stinging people, and their honeycombs will contain 5u of it on top of the honey.
The exact number is 5u of the mutated chemical with each sting. Regular bees sting with plain old toxin. Keep in mind that most beneficial chemicals have overdose thresholds!