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Swarm of Feral Bees Shuts Down Bronx Corner

By Jess Wisloski | May 19, 2012 3:37pm
A feral bee colony takes over a gutter in the Bronx on May 18, 2012.
A feral bee colony takes over a gutter in the Bronx on May 18, 2012.
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DNAinfo/BMR Breaking News

THE BRONX — A swarm of feral bees shut down a busy section of Westchester Square on Friday amid rush hour.

Their hive, which was estimated to contain 10,000 swarming bumblebees, took over this one around 6:18 p.m. on East Tremont Avenue, near Westchester Avenue.

"It was right in the gutter, right in the curb of a bus stop," said Anthony Planakis, the NYPD's bee specialist, who removed the swarm.

Despite interrupting traffic — he said that a patrol car had to block the roadway to prevent a city bus from driving over the swarm and angering the insects — the appearance of the bees didn't require a temporary bus stop.

No passengers were bothered by the bees, which Planakis said was lucky.

If a bus had rolled over the hive accidentally, he said, chaos would have ensued.

"Whatever got away, they would've gone into a frenzy. Especially if their queen was dead," he said.

"In 35 years of doing this, I've never had a problem like that. I don't even know how we'd deal with something like that."

It is likely that the mammoth swarm of bees fell from a nearby branch, given the size of the grouping, he said.

"When you get temperatures like this, you don't realize how tightly they're clustering up, just to keep the queen warm," he said, referring to the warm days and chilly nights last week. "There's layer upon layer underneath there."

After the branch of the tree fell, the bees appeared to regroup into a gutter with a drain, that was hollow on the inside, but had a covering.

"The hive had to have been of tremendous size," said Planakis.

The entire swarm weighed more than three pounds, he added.

After vaccuming the bees on Friday afternoon, Planakis transferred them to a hive at his home in Queens.