|Official Name||Common Sunstripe|
|Common Nicknames||Little Sunbeams, Bumbling Buzzers, Sweet Sunrays|
|Habitat||Temperate and Tropical Regions|
Buzzing, bobbing, bumbling; the Common Sunstripe is, as the name suggests, incredibly common, and is the best known member of the bee family found in Aloria. The Common Sunstripe is found in all temperate climates of Aloria, including most of the Daen supercontinent and the Regalian Archipelago. Their nests can be found in the high branches of trees, and even sometimes in the dense grasses of a prairie. Common Sunstripes were first domesticated in Anglia around 9 AC, starting the wonderful trade of bee-keeping. Today, Common Sunstripes can be found across the Regalian Empire and its client-states, raised by farmers and enthusiasts alike to produce honey for the citizens of the Empire.
The Common Sunstripe has existed in Aloria since before the golden age of the Elven Empire. The busy little bees were a common sight, bobbing over flower patches where they gather their nectar, and the Nelfin of the time knew their importance to the ecosystem well. Their population took a drastic decline as the Elves sunk into the Fifth Void Invasion, due to drastic loss of flowering meadows that often became the sight of bloody skirmishes. However, it was not until after the Cataclysm that Ailor began to experiment with taming them, and their population became more stable. Early attempts at beekeeping were little more than simply moving beehives close to each other and resulted in the death of three individuals over the first twenty years. Gradually, beekeeping became safer with the advent of new protective gear that was thick enough to prevent the wearer from being stung. Today, beekeeping is often utilized by monastic orders, who enjoy the honey production, and the farmers nearby monasteries, who benefit from the added presence of the Sunstripes.
Common Sunstripes can be described as cute in appearance. They grow to be about an inch in length, and have a two inch wingspan. The trade mark ‘sunstripes’ go down the length of the insect, giving it a racing stripe appearance of black and yellow lines. Their large, fuzzy abdomen is covered in fine hairs that pollen tends to cling to. At the end of their abdomen is a small stinger, used only in self defence. This stinger contains a small amount of a natural toxin, which causes burning and inflammation when injected into the bloodstream. In Ailor, these stings leave large, puffy, red welts that can be linger for weeks if not treated. The insect’s head is dominated by two large eyes, which see in the ultraviolet spectrum, giving the Sunstripe a superior ability in finding new flowers.
Common Sunstripes have a clear division between genders, as they live in a hive-based society. Male drones are considerably smaller, and are the most commonly seen of the species. They average roughly an inch in length, and have a series of yellow and black stripes running down the length of their abdomen. The females of the species come in two varieties, Queens and Princesses. The Queen Sunstripe is the largest member of any hive, growing upwards of three inches. They have larger abdomens which aid in the production of eggs, and spend a majority of their lives in the in a central chamber in the hive. A queen is catered to by the vast swarm of male drones that make up the rest of the hive, and spends her life producing new sunstripes. The princesses are other females that live in the hive, and are smaller than the queen, about two inches in length. Their role is to take over once the queen dies, or to fly off and make their own hive in the springtime season.
Life Span and Development
The Common Sunstripe starts off life as one among a clutch of sixty eggs. These eggs are stored in special, hexagonal cells that make up the inside of the standard hive. The eggs take roughly two weeks to hatch and grow into the larval stage, the likes of which remains in the ‘egg’ chamber eating honey. A larva will continue this for another two weeks, at which time it will have developed and pupated into full adulthood before leaving its longtime home. The average lifespan of the Common Sunstripe is roughly nine months, at which point it will be too weak to continue flying and collapse.
Typically docile, Common Sunstripes show evidence of hive-mindedness, as they are known to fly in groups together to gather pollen from flowers. Their flight patterns involve bobbing and weaving through the sky until they reach a patch of flowers, where, if alone, they will fly back to the hive to gather more drones to collect pollen. However, the Common Sunstripe is capable of attacking others it sees as a threat. In these situations, the swarm of Sunstripes will utilize their stingers to overwhelm the threat and attempt to scare it away. They act out in defense of their interests, and will only chase the threat until they deem it safe to continue their gathering of pollen.
Territory and Groupings
Building a hive reaching standard size of a two feet across, the Common Sunstripe’s home often takes up a number of branches within a tree. These hives are made by the Sunstripes gathering of materials, which are stuck together using their saliva. A single hive of Common Sunstripes can call an area roughly the size of an acre its ‘home territory’. However, these territories may overlap, and there has been little to no evidence that Common Sunstripes engage in territorial disputes.
- A person who raises Common Sunstripes is called an Apiarist. They often form special clubs in communities, with the most famous one being the Beekeepers Union of Zealous Zingers, or B.U.Z.Z. that operates out of the city of Regalia.
- Surprising to most, the venom stored in a Common Sunstripe’s stinger is capable of acting as a useful tranquilizer if used in concentrated doses. It can be made even more potent when mixed with various ingredients.
- There is a large number of individuals in Aloria that are allergic to being stung by a Common Sunstripe. These individuals begin to feel a choking sensation as their throat swells shut. So far the only known treatment is to sit it out and pray that the person survives.