Jeff Miller rolls up in his BMW convertible to the gleaming new headquarters of NPR one wet, gusty Monday morning. Miller, a real estate developer, isn’t there to check out the building, a modern mass of concrete and glass and lights on North Capitol Street. He’s delivering cargo: 20,000 European honey bees, buzzing in two wooden boxes destined for NPR’s rooftop.
Miller moonlights as a beekeeper with DC Honeybees, a nonprofit devoted to growing and sustaining bee colonies in the city, and NPR is the latest to solicit his services. Miller has already installed 100 hives this year (including one at a house in Tenleytown earlier that morning), a huge uptick from the 50 he set up during his first year with DC Honeybees in 2009.
Miller is joined by Katy Nally, a 25-year-old Center for Clean Air Policy employee with a bee tattoo behind her ear, who assists with installations. Maury Schlesinger, NPR’s director of real estate and administrative services, follows as Miller pushes a dolly stacked with a vat of sugar water and the two bee boxes through the back channels of the NPR building.