Bees Swarm Outside Bulgari Jewelry Store in Midtown

By Tom Liddy on June 8, 2011 5:09pm | Updated on June 9, 2011 9:31am

By Ben Fractenberg and Tom Liddy

DNAinfo Staff

MIDTOWN - The rich and famous aren't the only ones buzzing around Bulgari.

A swarm of Italian Honeybees descended on the swank Midtown jewelry store Wednesday afternoon.

Natasha Stambolis, 51, a worker at the gem shop at 730 Fifth Avenue and 57th Street, was shocked at the police presence outside.

"I originally thought somebody was going to jump off of the building," she said.

Then she spotted bees clustering around a branch and buzzing around a tree outside the store around noon.

"It was full of bees," she said. "They were swarming. There were zillions of bees in the tree."

Another worker, Steven Rodriguez, 27, said: "I was freaking out. There were so many of them. I've never seen so many bees, except on the Discovery Channel."

A handful of police officers soon arrived and kept people away from the swarm.

Beekepers, on call for the NYPD, then swooped in and got to work, spraying the tree with a sugar water solution to slow down and disorient them.

"They almost looked like Ghost Busters," Stambolis said.

Standing on their truck and decked out in beekeeeping suits, they scooped up most of the bees and put them into a box, according to one of the beekeepers, Andrew Cote, 40.

Then they sucked up the remaining insects, which were female, with a vacuum.

"I think they were going on a little Midtown shopping spree," Cote quipped.

After about an hour, most of the bees, which Cote described as very gentle, were gone.

"It was exciting," Stambolis said. "I was inspired because I heard that bees were dying by the droves."

Cote, who is part of the New York City Beekeepers Association, said that the bees, which swarm in order to propagate, will be moved to Connecticut.

"They're being relocated to Connecticut where they'll enjoy fresher air," he said.

No one was injured, police said.

Beekeeper Andrew Cote safely captured the bees at 57th Street and Fifth Avenue after being called to the scene by police.
Beekeeper Andrew Cote safely captured the bees at 57th Street and Fifth Avenue after being called to the scene by police.
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DNAinfo/Ben Fractenberg

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