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25,000 bees removed from Staten Island subway terminal


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A swarm of bees descended on parking lot in Saskatoon, Canada, and covered a pickup truck’s passenger side.
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New York Police Department’s beekeeping unit removed 25,000 bees that took up residence on an awning in a Staten Island Ferry subway terminal, officials tweeted Sunday.

The bees were safely removed from the scene, and no injuries were suffered in the “sting” operation, police said – and that’s partially true.

“I actually got stung,” Officer Darren Mays told the New York Times. “It happens. There’s a lot of people amazed. There’s a lot of people who are like, ‘I could never do something like that,’ and commended me for being brave.”

The NYPD’s beekeeping department is made up two officers, one who works weekday swarms, while the other covers nights and weekends, according to a 2018 profile by the New Yorker

“We’ve always had an officer who shares their knowledge of beekeeping with the department,” Officer Michael Lauriano told the news outlet. “Now that beekeeping has been becoming more of a new thing for New York City—people are having rooftop bees, balcony bees, bees in the parks—we’re faced with the challenges of: what if they swarm off?”

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Cornell University Senior Honey Bee Extension Associate Emma Mullen said in May that swarming is the natural phenomenon of honey bee colony reproduction. 

“Under the right environmental and colony conditions, the queen leaves the hive with a few thousand of her daughter bees, and they temporarily cluster on a tree branch or other structure, where they remain while they collectively decide where their new home will be,” she said in a statement on the university’s website.

Bees pollinate approximately 75 percent of the fruits, nuts and vegetables grown in the United States, and one out of every four bites of food people take is courtesy of bee pollination, according to The United States Geological Survey.

“In sum, bee pollination is responsible for more than $15 billion in increased crop value each year,” the agency reports.

This means that taking any action to kill a bee swarm is the wrong idea, Mullen said. 

“Honey bees face many stress factors in New York, so calling a swarm catcher instead of a pest controller can help preserve these colonies,” she told Cornell.

Follow Elinor Aspegren on Twitter: @elinoraspegren.

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