By Christina Santucci
A swarm of about 12,000 bees was removed from Bayside Sunday afternoon by police after the insects gathered on a tree branch and then buzzed about Bell Boulevard when the removal process sent them flying.
Detectives said they were called to the corner of 41st Avenue and Bell Boulevard around 4 p.m., and they stood on top of an Emergency Service Unit truck to reach the 3-pounds worth of bees, which had collected on a tree outside 41-02 Bell Boulevard, the Bayside Times’ second-floor office.
Then NYPD Detective Tony Planakis, who is known as Tony Bees, and ESU Detective Frank Schomayer tried to carefully cut the branch without disrupting the insects.
But a small movement sent thousands of bees downward into the air, where they flew around before many descended on the sidewalk underneath the police vehicle. No one was standing nearby when the bees scattered, authorities said.
That’s when the detectives had to switch to Planakis’ Plan B.
Planakis – with help from Schomayer and ESU Detective Mike Barber – waited for the swarm to calm down before suctioning them into two cases and a cardboard box. The process took more than an hour as stunned passers-by gawked at the procedure.
Once the swarm was collected, Planakis planned to cut holes in the top of the three containers, blast his air conditioning and transport them in his SUV to another beekeeper in Astoria or Middle Village.
“It freezes them,” he said of the cool air. “They cluster all tight together.”
Planakis believed that the swarm contained two types of bees: Italian and Carniolan bees.
The NYPD’s bee specialist said his biggest concern was that he would be called to another location and wouldn’t have any place to hold more bees.
“Now I have three pieces of equipment that are out of commission,” he said. “Luckily there are no other swarms around.”