April 9th, 2009
07:36 PM ET
2 years ago

White House hit by swarm of bees

Beekeeper Charlie Brandts was dispatched Thursday to deal with a swarm of bees on the White House grounds.
Beekeeper Charlie Brandts was dispatched Thursday to deal with a swarm of bees on the White House grounds.

(CNN) – The Secret Service is always on the alert for aerial assaults - but on Thursday, White House grounds were hit by one unexpected airborne threat.

A swarm of honey bees took over a bush located between the Northwest security gate of the White House and the area where television networks stand-up positions are located early Thursday.

CNN photojournalist John Bodnar said he came through the Northwest gate around 12:30 pm and was warned about the bees by Secret Service on duty in the guard post. "I walked out and thought it was a swirl of blossoms blowing in the wind, but turns out it was a swarm of bees," he says. Half an hour later, they were still issuing warnings."

White House carpenter Charlie Brandts, who is also a beekeeper and will be managing two bee hives in Michelle Obama's garden, came over to the area around shortly before 2 pm wearing protective gear and carrying a cardboard box. Brandts was reportedly able to get the queen bee in the cardboard box and many, though not all, of the other bees followed. CNN has not yet been able to confirm the capture of the winged invaders.


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soundoff (69 Responses)
  1. Nkosi

    OMG at around the exact time 12:30 pm today an incredible swarm of bees descended upon my backyard hovering for about 15 min. above my pool area. It appeared as though they covered the entirety of my backyard. In my entire life I have never seen that many bees in one location! I was having a meeting inside my home and my guest, looking out onto my backyard, remarked to me about the presence of the bees. It looked like thousands of them, however they seemed to move on to the next yard as quickly as they came.

    I live in Virginia Beach, VA. It was amazing to me reading this article that an army of bees attacked by backyard at the same time they appeared at the White House!

    April 9, 2009 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  2. elana

    Sara Palin has been at it again! Remember the "raccoon" she somehow let loose in the Rose Garden???? Well this time, she sent a BIG BEE Box full of Alaskan Bees along with her Ex-son-in-law when he was here this week doing interviews on CBS and with Ms. Banks. He stopped by the White House, and found a "volunteer" who dropped that bee box close to the new garden in the back yard of the White House and instructed the volunteer to "let the bees go"! Sure enough, they swarmed right into that bush over by the Northwest Security Gates! It seems Sara wants to be sure that the Alaska environment she looks after is never forgotten! First is was a "coon", now a "swarm of bees"?? Stay tuned folks for the next chapter of "As the White House Turns"!!!

    April 9, 2009 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  3. cabmaker

    When Michelle's garden gets going , she will want those bee's around . Things in nature that sometimes seem a pest are there for a purpose .

    April 9, 2009 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  4. Kyle in San Diego, CA

    It's a right-wing conspiracy!! The bees were planted in hopes of ridding the White House of the radically liberal, Obama!!

    (kidding)

    April 9, 2009 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  5. Matt

    It's the first plague. The end is nigh

    April 9, 2009 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  6. Monica

    We just need to reason with the bees, listen to them, respect them and they'll go away on their own. Maybe that's why PresBO isn't dealing with the Somalia issue- he's negotiating with bees.

    April 9, 2009 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  7. Crazy Cat Lady

    Sweet!

    April 9, 2009 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  8. Cheryl

    It's probably just a bivouac, where the bees just find a safe place to rest and collect themselves for a few days and then move on to search for a permanent home. That the White House has a beekeeper on staff speaks volumes to government efforts to preserve our natural food source system.

    April 9, 2009 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  9. rich

    I would bet a million dollars that the Queen Bee has to be one of two persons: either Rush Limbaugh or Dick Cheney. Where is my bug spray? I'm on my way Obama. I've got your back! Zap! There, that should take care of them.

    April 9, 2009 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  10. Fitz in Texas

    WOW, I don't think I ever recall this happening.

    Perhaps this is a message. You all decide. I know what I've decided.

    April 9, 2009 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  11. SR

    Okay, I am no conspiracy theorist but these various unwanted guests at the WH are starting to look suspicious. I don't recall this happening in any other WH. No, this doesn't seem like one big coincidence. The new WH occupants have not even been residents 3 months!

    April 9, 2009 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  12. Kentucky Beekeeper

    A swarm of bees on a tree limb or in a bush are looking for a new “home” and usually are the most gentle that you will encounter “in the wild”. As long as the queen isn’t being hurt, they will just swarm around her until she decides to move. If a person does not know a beekeeper… just leave them alone.

    April 9, 2009 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  13. Jacque Bauer

    African killer bees, we can assume, that are demanding asylum and amnesty from the socialist and Great Giver of Other People's Money: O'man!!

    April 9, 2009 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  14. Byron

    Hopefully they will not exterminate the bees. Colony Collapse Disorder and all. I've no doubt that the Bush people would have destroyed them though. Actually European honey bees, which are the majority of honey bees we depend on, are not a threat at all. I once saw a mass of dead honey bees that had alighted on a tree for sale in the garden department of a Home Depot. Somebody there panicked and called the exterminators who were only to happy to offer their services. Later, I was there when another swarm flew in. They slowly coleased on a Wisteria plant. People were in a panicked again. I was not since we had had a swarm land in a tree near our home and they were completely unthreatening. I even put my bare hand maybe 1/2 inch from them and none reacted. When they are swarming they are on the move to a new home. They are not looking for a fight. Anyway, at Home Depot I and another person picked up the Wisteria plant, put it on a cart and wheeled it outside. The exterminator, which had again been called, was disinvited. Then I put some honey on the trunk which they devoured. Next day they were gone.

    April 9, 2009 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  15. Lee Rowan

    What a blessing! Perhaps Michelle Obama's motto for the beehives should be, "If you build it, they will come."

    April 10, 2009 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  16. Cute!

    First raccoons and now bees! Take care of those bees, because many swarms are threatened by some strange malady. Bees are very important in pollination and agriculture, which so many people seem not to realize. They got all steamed up when some budget money was programmed to bee programs, as if it was some unnecessary pork. It isn't!

    April 10, 2009 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  17. tony

    I know it sounds a bit out there but, can you say sabotage... I think that it is a sort of test for the grounds security by outside forces that are up to no good. I know, but think about it, you do little things to disrupt and then "BAM!" it's over.

    There are a lot of people in this country who put their personal politics over the safety and well being of America. These people will do anything to get their agenda. As proof I offer up the republicans.

    April 10, 2009 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  18. AlexLawyer

    I guess they heard fhe buzz from someone at Goldman Sachs that things were sweet over at 1600 PA Ave.

    April 10, 2009 12:39 am at 12:39 am |
  19. penny lane

    hmmm. A swarm of bees around a bush. Cnn that was too easy.

    April 10, 2009 01:50 am at 1:50 am |
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