Saving the Pollinators

Who do you call when the rescue operation involves bees?

Workers carefully remove bees from an office building slated for demolition. Courtesy of Arlington County

Every spring and early summer, honeybee swarms can be found congregating in trees, wooden decks and even the walls of houses. While a glob of bees can seem like the stuff of nightmares, Kathryn Krenn, education director for the Northern Virginia Beekeepers Association (NVBA), says there’s no need to fear. “Swarms are actually very docile. Their goal is to just find a new place to live,” she says. And the NVBA has been known to rescue the occasional wayward swarm. Last summer, two members saved thousands of bees from a soon-to-be-demolished office building in Nauck, extricating the hive and relocating the colony to a nearby community garden.

The NVBA also offers talks and classes for wannabe backyard beekeepers. Krenn, who has four hives, says the work keeps her in touch with nature: “I love how endlessly fascinating [honeybees] are. We still do not understand everything about them, about why they do what they do.”

If you spot a swarm in need of rescue, email


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