Karen Pence installs beehive at Naval Observatory.

(Saw it first on Facebook, I think) That’s not any sort of euphemism or anything.  It’s a legit beehive.  There’s honestly no subtext:

Vice President Mike Pence’s wife, Karen, has opened their government residence to more than a few new inhabitants: honeybees. At least 15,000 of them.

Mrs. Pence showed off the beehive Tuesday, partly to draw attention to a decline in managed bee colonies that she and other officials say could negatively affect U.S. agricultural production.

It’s quite the fashion, actually. Second Lady Pence (man, that sounds weird) had done something similar when Mike Pence was governor of Indiana, and Michelle Obama set up a beehive at the White House in 2009. And I think that that is a smart call, because you can never have enough bees (sayeth the guy with a fairly noticeable bee phobia). Plus, bees mean honey, and honey means mead.  Hmm…

Bees invade Capitol Hill!


In an unusual sight on Capitol Hill Friday afternoon, beekeepers were called in to capture and remove about 15,000 honey bees that had swarmed around the main Senate entrance of the U.S. Capitol Building, frightening onlookers before landing in a tree.

I’ve had bees try to move into my house, and it’s a weird experience.  One wonders, though: why would a hive of bees move into Congress?  I mean, bees are a potent symbol of Industry, while Congress is an equally potent symbol of Sloth: combine the two, and won’t something explode in response?

This xkcd comic counsels against anthropomorphizing nature.

Because, really: by any standard of sentient-species morality and/or ethics nature is just plain awful.

Mind you, this guy is (reluctantly) calling BS on the XKCD strip in question.  He says that the strip anthropomorphizes science, instead; and as God is my witness I didn’t see that until after I wrote the title to my post.

Moe Lane

Swarm. Swarm. Swarm.

This is freaky, when it happens.

A huge number of honey bees were discovered inside a home in Westfield after contractors working on the house tore down a wall and revealed the hive, according to a report published at newjersey.news12.com.

The beekeeper who was called in estimated the total number of bees to be about 60,000.

Mickey Hegedus is removing the hive from the house with a special vacuum, according to the report, and taking all the bees he can save to a new colony he’s setting up at a Roselle Park church.

…I had some bees move in a few years back – have I mentioned that I’m phobic as hell about stinging insects? – and while it wasn’t 60K it was a goram lot of bees.  So, you know, I am nothing if not sympathetic.

Moe Lane

The War On Bees?

One of the problems with policy positions is that, well, sometimes the knowledge that you need to figure out what the heck is really going on is kind of obscure.  Case in point: a lawsuit going on right now involving the EPA over a particular kind of pesticide, and its effect on bees (which recently had the equivalent of a deadly pandemic).  Cue the New York Times:

Last year, researchers identified a virus as a major cause of the die-off; the latest suspect is a class of pesticides called neonicotinoids, which are used to protect common agricultural seeds, including corn. The insecticides are systemic, which means they persist throughout the life of the plant. Scientists have demonstrated that exposure to these chemicals damages bees’ brain function, including their ability to home in on the hive.

In mid-March, environmental groups and beekeepers sued the Environmental Protection Agency to persuade it to withdraw its approval of two of the most widely used neonicotinoids. The manufacturers of these chemicals — notably Syngenta and Bayer CropScience — have claimed again and again that they are safe. And it is true that bees face other stresses. Even so, beekeepers managed to keep their hives relatively healthy before the increased use of neonicotinoids began in 2005.

Note that the NYT didn’t actually say that the virus was caused by neonicotinoids (which is good, because it’s not*): but they are kind of implying it.
Continue reading The War On Bees?

So, the bee people came…

…and the bees… apparently swarmed away in response.  Interesting facts:

  • Bees can slap together a hive fairly quickly.
  • There’s anywhere from 10K to 20K bees in a swarm.
  • That’s a lot of freaking bees.
  • And apparently bees are ninja: they can just… disperse, and you’ll never know where they went until they swarm again.
  • You can tell European bees from African bees from the lack of bodies associated with the former.
  • People who collect bees are very, very eager to collect more bees.
  • And, generally, people who collect bees are kind of nice.  Everybody I talked to about this was of cheerful temperament and civil demeanor.

That’s it.  I just wish I knew where the swarm went.

Moe Lane

PS: I got my wife to admit today “Yeah, Moe, that’s a swarm.”  She knows I’m phobic – big time – so she half-thought that five or six was my swarm.


So, bees are getting drunk in Tennessee?

There are worse things to do on a nice mountain in the summertime then get drunk, not that I have actually done any of them. For that matter, have I ever gotten drunk on a mountain in the summertime? I’ve been to SCA events on mountains, so I’ve almost certainly gotten drunk on one once; but whether I’ve done it in the summertime is another question.

Anyway, it sounds more like the bees are doing the… apiary?… equivalent of chewing locoweed, which I have not ever done. That entire phytotoxin thing.

Via Instapundit.

Moe Lane

This Drunken Bee song by the LoneTones doesn’t sound half bad, actually.