If dodging speeding cabs, wayward cyclists, and lost tourists on the city’s sweltering streets this summer isn’t enough, here’s another thing to look out for: bees — a whole freakin’ lot of ‘em.
Honeybee swarms of cinematic proportions have terrified city goers this spring from Brooklyn to the Bronx. They bombarded a fire hydrant at the South Street Seaport, crowded the Bowery and even trapped a family in a Volvo at Pier 92.
The source of these swarms is one of the city’s fast growing hobbies: beekeeping. Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani banned honeybees from NYC back in 1999 along with cheetahs, elephants and other exotic pets, but the re-legalization of beekeeping in 2010 ushered in a new trend. New York Post reports that since the ban was lifted, the number of registered hives in the city has increased from three to 161. Hives range in size from small rooftop collections to Brooklyn’s Navy Yard, which boasts the city’s largest habitat with 20 hives and 20 million bees.
The Post explains that swarms occur unprovoked as part of the honeybees’ instinctive annual life cycle, but also from disease, overcrowding, and other symptoms of neglect. Poor beehive management has contributed to the 30 distinct bee clusters on buildings, light poles and fire hydrants across the city in recent months.
And here’s the wonderful news: “It hasn’t even started yet,” said Anthony Planakis, the police officer in charge of removing the swarms. “Within the next week, we’re going to be bombarded again.”
Andrew Coté, founder of the New York City Beekeepers Association, agreed. “There are too many hives right now,” he told the Post. “As it increases in popularity, it will be more and more difficult to control.”
The Gothamist warns city residents of a coming “beepocalypse,” but we should note that this title already belongs to the sharp decline in honeybee and bumblebee populations in the U.S. since 2006. If we’re all going down in a swarm of bees in the next couple of months, we might as well be accurate.
Tags: Andrew Coté, Anthony Planakis, beekeeper, beekeeping, beepocalypse, bees, bowery, Bronx, Brooklyn, Hell's Kitchen, honeybees, Navy Yard, New York City Beekeepers Association, pier 92, south street seaport, swarm
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