Even during pandemic beekeeping remains an essential service

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FILE – In this Aug. 7, 2019, file photo, the queen bee (marked in green) and worker bees move around a hive at the Veterans Affairs in Manchester, N.H. The annual survey released Monday, June 22, 2020, of U.S. beekeepers found that honeybee colonies are doing better after a bad year. Monday’s survey found winter losses were lower than normal, the second smallest in 14 years of records. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) – The nation’s capital has declared beekeepers to be essential workers during the coronavirus outbreak. Spring and summer is when beehives will “swarm,” meaning a queen will take half the hive to make a new hive.

If the swarm isn’t collected by a beekeeper, the new hive can come to settle in residential backyards, attics, crawlspaces or other potentially ruinous areas. And that can create a stinging, scary nuisance. Beekeepers respond to swarms and carefully transplant them to designated areas such as community gardens, rooftops and even embassies in Washington.

Collecting swarms of bees is challenging at any time, and even more so during a pandemic.

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