Retired NYPD Bee Expert 'Tony Bees' Returns to Remove 50K Insects From Home
ELMHURST — You can't keep Tony Bees away from the hive.
The NYPD's recently-retired bee expert and another apiarist teamed up Thursday to remove more than 50,000 bees that had taken up residence in an unsuspecting condo owner's ceiling.
Anthony "Tony Bees" Planakis and Larry Stone, the "Honeybee Helper" at Stoneridge Apiaries who specializes in removing bee colonies from residences, spent hours Thursday morning tracking down and removing more than 50,000 bees living in a ceiling at Gregory Hall Condominium on 51st Avenue and 90th Street.
The duo, who work out at the same Rego Park gym, were called in by staff after a tenant spotted an insect outside.
They got to work at 10 a.m. Thursday and, using a thermal detector, found the colony in a bedroom ceiling and cut a hole in it to remove the hive.
They removed more than 50,000 bees, which will be brought to the upstate apiary Stone runs.
Building manager Mike Candan, who found Planakis through an online search, said he hadn’t experienced anything like it in his more than 25 years managing the condos.
He said he was impressed by the bees and their organization.
“They’re going around finding spaces, and they managed to find a small opening that went into the ceiling,” he said.
“They’re always looking to find places like that and they made a little colony there.”
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Planakis and Stone said the job was business-as-usual.
It was the first bee-removal job since Planakis left the NYPD. But the longtime expert said the work is “something you never leave.”
“It was always about the safety of the people and the safety of the bees, and for 20-plus years that’s what I’ve been saying,” he said.
Since retiring, the former detective said he’s spent every day at his gym in Rego Park — which is where he ran into Stone a few years ago.
Stone, a former high school earth and environmental science teacher, and the retired detective “shoot the bee stories every day whenever we are there,” Stone said.
This was the first team job for the pair.
“Everything went smoothly, like a well-oiled machine,” Planakis said.