Where you had plants, you needed bees. Professor Iolanthe McCloud and the AgriClub and a few other volunteers from Magizoobotany had set up bee boxes in the area of the greenhouses, and Io had brought in a colony from the surface world, and their hives were literally buzzing with activity.
But if you were keeping bees in a magical area, you ended up with glumbumbles. And now the RMI bee colonies were being infiltrated. Not that glumbumbles were all bad, of course. Their treacle could treat alihotsy hysteria and mania, and pollinators were pollinators, so they had a few other uses. But they ruined the honey and the bees were none too pleased with their unwanted guests, so it seemed to Io that the best solution was to give the glumbumbles their own homes.
Which was where the students came in. “Pass your robes off to the welcome willow,” she instructed them as they arrived, “unless you forgot to wear long sleeves as I mentioned last class, in which case you’ll have to keep them on.” Io herself had a long-sleeved purple shirt on under her white denim overalls. “There are extra gloves in the wheelbarrow for anyone who forgot their dragonhides.” The extra gloves weren’t dragonhide—Io didn’t have that kind of budget—but they were sturdy enough for stingers.
“Circle up,” she instructed when it was time for class to begin. The charmed wheelbarrow trundled along after her. “We’re going to go around, and I want everyone to say their name and their favorite arthropod. I’ll start: I’m Professor McCloud, and my favorite arthropod is the sugarbag bee.” By now she knew all of the students in all of her classes, and she called on them each by name as they went.
After the icebreaker, Io took out a small glass jar with airholes and handed it to the student on her right. Inside was a small apian creature with grey fur and veined wings. “This is a glumbumble. Pass the jar around so everyone can have a look—be gentle. Some glumbumbles have taken up in our beehives, so we’ll be rehoming them today. Why can’t we leave them where they are?” She called on students until one correctly answered that the honey would be tainted. “Precisely. Glumbumbles usually nest in dark and secluded places, like hollow logs. They should be right at home in these new bee boxes, and hopefully stop bothering the bees. On their own, glumbumbles produce a treacle with medicinal purposes, so hopefully Medic Rocamboli or Professor Hier will be able to benefit from our colony. Who can tell me the uses of glumbumble treacle?”
When that question had been answered to her satisfaction, Io lifted a basket of nettles from the wheelbarrow and handed it to the student on her left. “Pass this around. Everyone take some nettles. Use your gloves unless you’d like your hands to be full of stinging spines. Nettles are the glumbumble’s preferred food, so we’ll be using these to lure them over to their new home.” The upper years class had planted nettles when they were setting up the new boxes, so the glumbumbles should be happy to stay in that area once they’d moved.
“Work in pairs, as always. The nettles should lure most of the glumbumbles out, but you’ll need to check inside the boxes when you think you’re done, just to make sure. Cast fumos, the smokescreen spell, to keep the bees sedated before doing this. I’m also going to come around and cast a bubble-head charm on each of you, which should keep the bees from getting up close and personal with you.”
A few minutes later, all of the students appeared to be wearing upside-down fishbowls on their heads. “If you have a bee allergy, see me immediately and we’ll devise another assignment,” Io said sternly. No one had been particularly stupid in her classes as of yet, so Io hoped today would follow that pattern. “Otherwise, a sting is no big deal, just come to me and I can patch you up. I know what to do, I’ve had more than my share. Okay, beekeepers, off you go.”
[OOC: You all know the drill. Bonus points for being clever and interesting. Tag Io if you need her, otherwise have fun, young apiarists!]