Due to a warm winter and early spring, some New Yorkers are finding themselves subject to swarms of honeybees.
Serving and protecting citizens and swarms is Officer Anthony Planakis, the NYPD’s unofficial beekeeper since 1995. Planakis has responded to swarm calls in all five boroughs this spring making it his busiest yet.
It’s likely that some of the swarms are the result of overcrowding or poor ventilation of privately kept hives. There are 182 hives registered with the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. (The actual number of residentially managed hives is suspected to be as high as 400.) There are more than a dozen beekeeping clubs in the city.
Though a swarm can induce panic, honeybees are relatively docile and slow to sting. Bee advocates are quick to remind the public that while regulation of residential hives is necessary, you can’t make people make good decisions. (On the subject Andrew Cote of the NYC Beekeepers Association delivers one of the truest statements ever. To see it, read Emily S. Rueb’s full story over at the New York Times.)
Despite the surge in numbers, researchers say that it’s too soon to determine if the return of the bees signals the reverse of Colony Collapse Disorder.