The Gothamist Newsmap indicated an "unusual incident"at 75th Street and 2nd Avenue in Manhattan yesterday. The Emergency Service Unit officers responded, but they reportedly "hung back a bit" because the unusual incident turned out to be a swarm of bees!
A witness told WNBC the bees "were swarming all around like debris, a whirlwind type of thing," around a newspaper box for the Learning Annex. Jim Fisher, who volunteers at the Bronx Zoo, arrived on the scene and, per WABC 7, managed to calm things down:
Fisher used water to wet the wings of the swarm to prevent them from flying off, then used a whisk broom to sweep the bees into a cardboard box. Once the queen bee was inside, the rest of the bees followed her pheremones into the box.
Fisher says the bees had been on the box for about an hour and likely landed in desperation, having come from a nearby hive that had split its population in two. Half flew off with the new queen bee in search of a new home, while the other half remained with the existing hive and the old queen bee. It's behavior that's not unusual this time of year, Fisher said.
Awesome! There were about 5,000 bees, weighing about a pound in total, which is considered a small swarm. Fisher says there's another half of a hive out there, somewhere.
The Queens County Farm Museum has a honey bee program (where children "learn about the life-cycle of honeybees, their products, and how they help us") and there are also programs for groups of adults. And these bees do have a new home--with a beekeeper north of the city.