MIDTOWN EAST — A nearly 2-pound swarm of "Italian honeybees" swelled on a branch outside Saks Fifth Avenue's corporate headquarters Friday afternoon, officials said.
The cluster of some 4,500 bees dangled from the limb at 12 E. 49th St. while some of them, called "scouts," traveled to and fro "looking for another home," said Anthony Planakis, the NYPD's resident bee- catcher who is nicknamed "Tony Bees."
"It was a bona fide swarm," Planakis said.
To catch the bees, Planakis set up a ladder underneath the swam, climbed up the rungs and removed them from the branch upon determining that "they were docile," he said.
Planakis speculated that the bees were fleeing scorching temperatures.
"The inside of a hive is anywhere from 91 to 95 degrees," he said. "There might have been some congestion inside their hive."
"We're supposed to be at the end of the swarming season right now, so I don't know what's going on. I hope this was just a fluke," he said.
Planakis is now coordinating the bees' relocation and will add them to his personal hives if need be, he said.
With additional reporting from Roy Renna.