Pentagon Faces New Enemy: 10,000 Honey Bees?

Digital Vision/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- There were chuckles all around the Pentagon Wednesday as an alert notice appeared on computers warning building employees a swarm of bees had parked themselves outside an entrance to the building. The swarm of about 10,000 European honey bees landed on the branch of a small tree just outside the Pentagon's Mall Entrance.

By coincidence, a short time later a fire alarm led to the evacuation of a portion of the building. On the way out of the building a Pentagon employee was overheard saying, “I wonder if it’s the swarm of bees?”

Turns out, the two events were not connected, but they piqued journalists' interest in the “hive” of activity at the entrance.

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A short time later, another building notification told building employees that bee specialists had been called in to deal with the bee swarm at that entrance.

Some amateur beekeepers who work at the Pentagon and who, after seeing the internal alerts had shown up to assist the local beekeeper, called to resolve the situation. The beekeeper cut off a portion of the branch and placed it in a cardboard box with the expectation that most would follow their queen bee into the box.

Air Force Lt. Col. Craig Bucher was one of the amateur beekeepers who had arrived to help.  With the bees safely in the box, he planned to take them home and share them with fellow bee enthusiasts.

“Now that we have the hive," Bucher said, “I’m in touch with others in the area who would really jump at the opportunity to incorporate it in their home.

“I’m going to take this hive home with me and then put the word out to someone who can hopefully give them a good home,” he said.

Bucher explained that the swarm of bees had likely split off from another hive and followed a new queen bee to look for a new home.  He said that typically a mature hive would have between 30,000 to 50,000 bees so the Pentagon swarm might have numbered 10,000.

He estimated that the bees who’d landed on the tree “had stopped to rest” there as they were looking for a new home.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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