It's a bee market as insects swarm Wall StreetForget bears and bulls. It's bees that are making waves on Wall Street.
NEW YORK (AP) — Forget bears and bulls. It's bees that are making waves on Wall Street.
About 15,000 of them buzzed the posh Cipriani Wall Street restaurant this week, blanketing an elegant front door and forcing police to cordon off the block.
“We had 15,000 girls who wanted to get in and have a nice, fresh Bellini on a hot, sunny day,” general manager Eric Bonnetain joked Tuesday.
At noon Monday, with the markets closed for Memorial Day and tourists filling Wall Street, Bonnetain was outside when he suddenly saw “thousands of bees flying around.” Pedestrians stopped in wonder; some ran in fear.
Soon, the female worker bees landed at Cipriani.
“They could sting, but they were pretty quiet because they were following the queen bee, which was trying to get in,” he said. The queen had disappeared into a crack of the closed portal.
He called police, who summoned Officer Anthony Planakis, their bee handler. Wearing a white jacket and gloves, he used a vacuum to suck up the bees into a container.
Even though they weren't successful in New York, they're getting a country place — on a bee farm in Connecticut.
Bee swarms have popped up in the city for years in spring, usually in search of homes after a new queen emerges and an existing hive becomes overcrowded.
It was the third time in a year that a swarm swept through Manhattan.
On a Saturday afternoon in May in Union Square, one of the city's busiest shopping areas, a sign in the window of the GameStop announced: “Closed due to bee infestation.” Upstate New York became their country abode.
And last June, bees tried to settle on Manhattan's Upper East Side. One Sunday, at least 8,000 of them were spotted flying up busy Lexington Avenue. They had built a hive in a tree, and when the queen went sightseeing, the entire swarm followed.
Again, Planakis came to the rescue, with onlookers applauding. That winged colony also was hauled off to Connecticut.
Planakis, who works in the New York Police Department's building maintenance department, became the resident bee expert after learning the skill from his father.
Not everyone wants to deport bees from New York. Some denizens are inviting them to settle here.
In March, bee enthusiasts scored when the Board of Health voted to lift a ban on beekeeping, legalizing hundreds of existing hives that were part of an underground honeybee world. The activity previously carried fines of up to $2,000.
While bees were banned as dangerous in the city's original health code, the Board of Health now considers “responsible urban beekeeping” as sustainable agriculture that “does not pose a public health issue,” according to a statement issued Tuesday by the city's Department of Health.
And while large swarms are chased away, a bee-loving Brooklyn group with more than 760 members is trying to pique New Yorkers’interest in the subject.
“Want to bring bees to your garden or rooftop, or to adopt a hive?” asks the New York City Beekeeping Meetup Group on its website.
The next gathering is scheduled at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden on June 12 — “Bee Day.”