Best Fighter Jet In History Grounded By Bees

F-22Beeeeeeeeeesssssss

Bees On An F-22

Bees On An F-22

Look at this little swarm on this expensive plane.Carlos Claudio, U.S. Air Force courtesy photo

Drones aren’t normally a problem for the F-22. The U.S. Air Force's advanced stealth fighter is built to clear the sky of any hostile aircraft, be it another fighter, an encroaching bomber, or even an unmanned aerial scout. It turns out, however, there’s a kind of flyer that even the F-22 can’t defend against: bees! No, really. Bees.

In June, a swarm of bees found its way into the exhaust nozzle of an F-22 at Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Virginia. Rather than exterminating the bees, the maintenance crew that discovered the swarm decided to find someone who could relocate the bees.

From the Air Force:

Andy Westrich, U.S. Navy retired and local bee keeper, arrived on base with the needed materials and supplies. According to Chiarantona, Westrich said the swarm was one of the largest he had ever seen. He was escorted to the aircraft and used vacuum hoses to safely corral the honey bees off of the aircraft into large buckets. He then took the bee's home and found that, as a hive, they weighed eight pounds which calculates to almost 20,000 bees! "The honey bees most likely came from a much larger bee hive somewhere else on base," said Chief Master Sergeant Gregg Allen, 192nd Maintenance Group Quality Assurance chief, who also happens to be a bee keeper. "Bee hives are constantly growing and they eventually become overcrowded. Around springtime, the bees will make a new queen, scout for a new location and take half of the hive with them to that location."

The bees may have just been resting on the jet on their way to find a new home for their queen, though there was also a chance the swarm could have built a hive right there, in the exhaust nozzle of the $143 million jet fighter. Before that could happen, the beekeeper relocated the swarm to the hive of a beer producer, which will use the honey.

Once that beer is ready, I can imagine the mechanics getting together over a round of a brew that I can only hope will be named Stealth Honeybeer, and telling the tale of the time a jet was grounded, if only for a day, by a swarm of bees.

Check out some more pictures of the swarm below:

Bee Swarm Flush With F-22

Bee Swarm Flush With F-22

This F-22 is the first to win any Bee Beard contests.Carlos Claudio, U.S. Air Force courtesy photo
Removing Bees From A Jet

Removing Bees From A Jet

This is the easiest and safest way to defeat a swarming tactic.Carlos Claudio, U.S. Air Force courtesy photo
Scraping The Last Of The Bees Off The Jet

Scraping The Last Of The Bees Off The Jet

The trick with swarms is there are just so dang many of them.Carlos Claudio, U.S. Air Force courtesy photo
Beekeeper Andy Westrich

Beekeeper Andy Westrich

This is the retired U.S. Navy veteran who, in his post-service life as a beekeeper, removed bees from a jet. It is probably the coolest beekeeper story I've ever heard.Carlos Claudio, U.S. Air Force courtesy photo