3 Million Bees Seized From Queens Home

By Tuan Nguyen and Paul DeBenedetto  on August 23, 2012 10:36am  | Updated on August 23, 2012 5:57pm

CORONA — Authorities seized 3 million bees from a Queens home Wednesday night, officials said.

Yi Gin Chen, 58, kept 42 hives in the driveway of his 111th Street home in Corona, police said.

Andrew Cote, from the New York Beekeepers Association, said some of the hives were propped up with thin pieces of wood and folded cardboard. The swarming bees amounted to a safety hazard for neighbors, Cote said.

"The mouths of the hives were no more than two feet from the neighbors driveway," he said. "I'm not talking about one hive. I'm talking about 20 hives, two-to-three feet away from where neighbors had to walk."

The NYPD's in-house beekeeper, Detective Anthony Planakis, who assisted with the seizure, said he'd never seen anything like it in the city.

"My jaw dropped," Planakis said. "I couldn't believe what I was looking at."

Planakis said the conditions were unsafe for the bees, particularly when winter rolled around.

"This is a clear-cut case of exploitation of these bees," Planakis said. "Where's your feeding? I didn't see 45 feeders out there."

Meanwhile, Chen said he was shocked by the police response Wednesday night. When he woke up Thursday, all the boxes had been taken.

"It's just like robbery," Chen said Thursday morning.

The Department of Health, which regulates beekeeping in the city, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Three million bees were removed from the home of Queens resident Yi Gin Chen, 58, on Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2012.
Three million bees were removed from the home of Queens resident Yi Gin Chen, 58, on Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2012.
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DNAinfo/Tuan Nguyen

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