BUSHWICK — The NYPD's bee expert vacuumed up a swarm of 12,000 stinging insects from a tree Wednesday morning — and he used horse manure to make sure no more of the bugs returned to the Himrod Street sidewalk.
Detective Anthony Planakis, known as "Tony Bees," came to the rescue about 11 a.m. after firefighters called him about a swarm across the street from the Engine 271 firehouse near St. Nicholas Avenue.
Planakis said he made it just in time before the creatures started attacking passersby.
"They're relatively docile now but as soon as they sense a swarm coming they get antsy...they'll get ticked off," he said as he vacuumed the bees into a cage from the tree. "They know they're stuck here then and they get protective.... Just as the weather affects us it affects them."
Planakis, who prepared to transport the bees in a cage to a hive in Queens, said the beginning of summer signaled just the start of swarm season. And he said it was crucial to spray down bees' former gathering spots with smoke to stop more from being drawn to the smell.
"You can't get a better smoke than horse manure," he said, blowing balls of the potent manure through a smoker at the branches.
But he promised he was harming no creatures as he worked.
"I'm putting them in the front seat of my car," he said of transporting the cage. "I have 70,000 in hives in my backyard, so this is nothing. This is really nice."