We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.

Arriving home to find a package on your doorstep is usually met with a joyful exclamation like, “Oh good! My Amazon order of gel pens wasn’t stolen!” But a resident of Near Northeast likely sounded like Nic Cage last week when she found a package containing around 1,000 live bees on her doorstep. She hadn’t ordered any bees.

“We normally don’t handle bees,” says Ray Noll, director of Animal Control Field Services for the Washington Humane Society. But the resident who mistakenly received the shipment “was freaked out” and threatening to call the mayor’s office, according to Noll, so he headed over to 11th Street NE last Friday. There he found a plastic mail bin containing a wood-and-screen box filled with bees. Noll attempted to calm the woman, he says, but as she rightly pointed out, “You’re not the one with the bees on your porch!”

Noll called the number on the package (a requirement for livestock orders) and discovered that the bees were destined for Southeast D.C., not Northeast. He delivered the bees to their rightful keeper.

This is the first time Noll has been dispatched to the scene of a mistaken bee delivery, but he has been contacted by employees at post offices who’ve received (illegal) shipments of chicks.

New regulations on beekeeping in D.C. were instituted as part of the Sustainable DC Act of 2012. Beekeepers are required to register with the District Department of the Environment. Apiarists can only have a certain number of hives and need a permit to move bees into D.C., as the DC Beekeepers Alliance helpfully points out on its site.

Photo courtesy of Washington Humane Society