State Capitol abuzz as thousands of honeybees take up residence on the grounds

OLYMPIA, Wash. --There was a lot of buzz in Olympia Wednesday as thousands of honeybees moved onto the Capitol grounds.

Nearly 30,000 bees were set up in two hives on the front lawn of the governor’s mansion. The reasons for the bees is to educate people about pollination and the decline in bee populations.

“It’s great and very exciting. I’m very happy,” said Trudi Inslee, Washington’s first lady.

Outside the governor’s mansion, new neighbors moved in.

“We’ve always wanted to have bees in our own lives so this is a great way to do it and we think we’re the first residence in a state capitol to have bees on site. So we’re hoping other states might follow suit and other cities as well,” said Inslee.

On Wednesday, workers carefully put the queen bee in her new habitat, the place she will lay her eggs.

A few minutes later, the European worker honeybees were introduced to their new home.

The hives were brought to the Capitol by the Olympia Beekeepers Association as part of a collaborative effort with the Department of Enterprise Services.

“We’re here because this is a perfect place to demonstrate to people the importance of bees and other pollinators,” said Laurie Pyne, president of the Olympia Beekeepers Association.

The hope is these honeybees will create a lot of buzz about how important they are to our daily lives. They will also pollinate more plants within a 3 to 5 mile radius of the capitol.

“Healthy bees, healthy food supply, healthy people. What I hope to impart to people is that our lives are really interwoven with theirs and their pollination services,” added Pyne.

Every day, a lot of the food we eat is created with some form of pollination and honeybees are responsible for 80 percent of that.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is concerned with the number of bees that have been declining since the 1980s

“That decline in bees is being caused by a number of factors and I would say the top three factors are loss of forage, loss of habitat and pesticide,” said Pyne.

There are some pesticide companies that have already stopped using chemicals that experts believe harm many of the bees.

The honeybees on the governor’s lawn are expected to produce honey by next year.

The Olympia Beekeepers Association will be responsible for checking on the bees and taking care of them.

The group will also put up signs around the hives to educate people walking by about what the bees are doing on the front lawn.