Bannes Honey Bees
While bees are prevalent all over Vanelle, the Bannes honey bee is unique in that it has been kept, bred, refined and loved for generations of beekeepers. Slightly larger than regular honeybees, it also lives a little longer than its wild cousins. Kept in hives at the edge of Larkwood forest, the bees are free to roam the surrounding meadows and clearings, which are rich in flowering plants, grasses, trees and bushes, giving their honey its unique flavour and wonderful texture. While many hundreds of jars of honey are produced in Bannes each year, the demand for its particular flavour and sweetness is so high that there is very rarely any surplus. Because the summers in northern Vanelle are relatively short, albeit intense, the bees gorge themselves on nectar while it's available, producing an abundance of honey while active. Equally, the winters in Bannes can be harsh, so the beekeepers take great care to ensure their hives don't suffer from frostbite or ice over. In fact, one could argue that beekeeping is more than a profession in Bannes. Those caring for the bees are fully committed to their wellbeing and suffer greatly should a hive fail or suffer damage. Beekeeping in Bannes is a generational profession; beekeepers generally grow up learning the trade from their elders, making it an integral part of their lives. Apart from their slightly increased size, the Bannes bees look much like regular honey bees and act much the same. They are peaceful unless agitated or attacked and are quite content to be handled by their keepers, who none the less wear protective nets and gloves while doing so. Their sting is unpleasant in addition to being fatal to the attacking bee.