A swarm of about 30,000 bees decided to visit a famous ledge in downtown New York on June 27.
The swarm landed at the old New York Times building, where the ball is dropped every New Year’s Eve.
A swarm follows a queen. In this case the queen was shopping for a new home, and chose the Times Square building as safe spot to rest.
Someone spotted the swarm and called urban beekeeper Andrew Coté.
Coté is a fourth-generation beekeeper and proprietor of Andrew’s Honey. He is also the founder of the New York City Beekeepers Association.
Coté proved to be the right man for the job. He showed up and without even bothering to don his face mask or gloves, vacuumed up the entire swarm in next to no time.
He took the swarm to Bryant Park where he and the Beekeepers Association maintain a pair of hives.
“We decided to put these bees in Bryant Park because one, they needed a place to go right away,” Coté explained. “There were so many of them in a small container that they would have overheated were we to have left them there for too long.
“Two, we have two hives at Bryant Park. One of them was lagging behind the other. This is going to give it a jump-start, it’s going to double the population in a few minutes.”
Most people would be too afraid to approach a mass of 30,000 bees, but Coté was not worried about being stung.
“People talk about that but I didn’t get stung.
“Honey bees are docile, they’re friendly, they’re beneficial to us. I think that they get a bad rap for what wasps and hornets bring to their picnics and so on. But honey bees are gentle and a huge part of our life. From apples to zucchini, the honey bee literally pollinates the food that keeps us alive.”