News & Politics

Recently, in Swarms of Bees

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Last week bees swarmed a BMW in Fairfax. Apparently it was nothing to worry about. “They’re not looking to sting anybody,” Fire Captain David Weand told WAMU. Weand is a beekeeper.

This is bee-swarming season, which is as good a reason as I’ve ever heard to never go outdoors again. But beekeepers say it’s fine. “Honey bees are usually docile as a swarm,” the Baltimore Sun reported after a conversation with beekeeper Charles DeBarber. He had recently coaxed a swarm out of Federal Hill Park before an Easter egg hunt.

Thousands of bees swarmed the USS Wisconsin in Norfolk, Virginia, last Wednesday. “It was really neat,” Stephen Kirkland, the executive director of the science center where Wisconsin resides told WTKR. My last trip to Norfolk was my last trip to Norfolk.

Last month 12,000 bees landed in a backyard in Mechanicsville, Virginia, a pleasant suburb of Richmond where, and I assure you this was a difficult decision, I no longer have any friends. A beekeeper wearing no protection shook them into a box like he was sorting blueberries. “I feel that a scary situation turned into a really awesome one,” homeowner Julia Meade Tulli told WTVR.

That same month, beekeeper Earl Vanover freed a Martinsville, Virginia, apartment building from the 7-10,000 bees that swarmed a tree. “I had to actually scoop them with my hands into the box very gently,” Vanover told WSLS. He estimates he got “98 percent” of them. That leaves 140-200 bees, which, and this is just one man’s opinion, is more than enough.


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Andrew Beaujon joined Washingtonian in late 2014. He was previously with the Poynter Institute,, and Washington City Paper. He lives in Del Ray.