WILLIAMSBURG — Tens of thousands of bees swarmed a Williamsburg street Wednesday afternoon, frightening locals and closing down a portion of the block while police scooped them up.
The 24,000-strong swarm landed on Montrose Avenue between Lorimer and Leonard streets just after 12 p.m. after likely originating from a nearby hive, said an NYPD beekeeper who responded to the scene.
“There were no broken branches, so I think they originally landed on the tree and started migrating down to the ground where the queen was, and they just clustered up over there,” said Det. Anthony "Tony Bees" Planakis.
Onlookers stood gawking at the swarm when police arrived, with someone placing a food container over the bees to cover them up, he explained.
"Swarms are relatively docile at first, but stuff like that will really tick them up,” Planakis said.
Locals said they first noticed the swarm that morning.
"We were worried about people getting stung," said Esteban Lopez, who called the police.
Planakis proceeded to vacuum up the bees, using a queen from another swarm to draw them in. He removed the entire swarm by 2:30 p.m. and will bring them to an apiary in Connecticut.
Planakis said this was the first reported swarm in the area and predicted that nearby hives will soon follow.
“We had a bet and I said it would start up the week after Mother’s Day," the NYPD's resident beekeeper said. "I may be wrong, but in 38 years I’ve never been wrong."