The Pence family brought its pet cats and bunny to live in Washington D.C. with them, and now Second Lady Karen Pence has introduced a new animal to the vice president's residence: Bees. Thousands and thousands of bees.
Pence revealed a new beehive holding almost 20,000 bees at the Naval Observatory on Tuesday. According to CNN, she kept bees at the Indiana Governor's Mansion before moving to D.C., so she's used to the buzz. "One out of three bites of food taken in this country are made possible with the help of pollinators," Pence told the small crowd gathered for the unveiling, including Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. "I mean, I've learned so much about bees in the last four years."
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service added bumble bees to the endangered species list in January. According to a press release from the second lady's office, the honey bee population in the U.S. has dropped from 6 million during the 1940s to only about 2.5 million today. Her office said the decline was caused by factors including transportation of bees, sub-lethal exposure to pesticides, and poor nutrition.
Pence's statement did not mention that studies show climate change has impacted bumble bees across the world, as they have less available habitats as the environment changes. Considering the White House administration her husband belongs to announced it will remove the U.S. from the Paris climate deal last week, the omission shouldn't come as a surprise.
But, the second lady is apparently passionate about bees, tweeting photos of her beehive unveiling on Tuesday. She wrote in the caption: "What a bee-utiful day at the VP residence!!"
The bee puns just write themselves.
Some were confused by Pence's interest in bees, but former First Lady Michelle Obama initiated a similar project in 2009, adding a beehive to the White House garden.