30,000 Bees Swarm Ledge Over Times Square

Bees Swarm Ledge Over Times Square

NEW YORK - Some unwelcome visitors have appeared at the Crossroads of the World.

Just when you thought you'd seen it all in Times Square, 30,000 honeybees decided to swarm a ledge 17 stories up, CBS New York reports.

"If you just look to the right, you could just go straight down Broadway and there was just the heart of Times Square right there," Hannah Baek of AndrewsHoney.com told CBS New York.

The swarm took over the entire ledge Tuesday in Times Square. Andrew Coté of AndrewsHoney.com -- a fourth-generation beekeeper -- found himself perched on the ledge with a hose.

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"I had the harness very secure, and I used a low suction vacuum that is used specifically to pick up honeybees," Coté said.

But the bees -- at least one -- did not go without a fight.

"I only got stung once, and I was only stung because I had lent my gloves to my young assistant," Coté said.

That young assistant was Augustine Lodise, 15, who on Wednesday was dressed in a bee costume to help sell honey.

"People on the other side of the street and the buildings were also looking at us, and it was just awe inspiring," Lodise said.

Believe it or not, this was not the highest Coté has gone to get to a swarm. Nineteen stories is a record.

The Times Square swarm took about 30 minutes to remove. Once the bees were secured, they were moved to a dwindling hive that Coté oversees at Bryant Park. 

This also was not the first time such a swam of bees has been seen in New York City. In fact, it was the third time this month.

Bees covered a van in Midtown on June 2, and two weeks ago, they swarmed a downtown building. Coté said it is to be expected because it is swarm season.

"Fewer than usual, but we've still had many," he said.

But where did the bees at the Crossroads of the World come from? Coté said they came from a hotel rooftop hive across the street.

"So this queen left the hotel; she checked out," Coté said. "She took about a third of the bees with her -- maybe half -- and she was looking for better accommodations." 

That was bee humor. But why did they really leave?

"They're either overpopulated in the hive they're in, or they don't have good ventilation," Coté said. But in any case, the queen leaves and she takes a third to a half with her so they can start a new colony. It's how one colony becomes two it's how they propagate their species."

And while the swarm looked threatening, Coté said the bees were not interested in humans -- only a place to stay.

Coté said bee swarm season starts Memorial Day and ends on the Fourth of July. He also said swarms usually have been 15,000 and 20,000 bees, so this one was rather large. 

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