Urban Swarming--The Backstory

Last week, I posted an item called Urban Swarming about the swarm of honeybees found on a newspaper dispenser on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. The article included links to the New York Post article and a video in which beekeeper Jim Fischer is interviewed as he prepares to remove the swarm.

I've met Jim through the Brooklyn Beekeepers' Meetup—he brought a great assortment of honey to our honey-tasting late last winter.

On Friday, Jim sent a message regarding last week's swarm-related festivities to the Bklyn Beek group. With his permission, some of his comments are recapped below.

"The cops called the Zoo, the Zoo told them to call me, so I got my annual 15 seconds of fame:

Eyewitness News (ABC)
NBC News
The Daily News

"One lousy swarm of bees issuing from places unknown, and from the reaction, it might have as well been an unexploded nuclear warhead! :) By the time I got down to the site, there were:

  • 14 NYPD Officers
  • 1 "Emergency Management" Truck
  • 1 Fire Truck
  • Half a dozen firemen
  • Crime scene tape around the entire area
  • Not just one but THREE news film crews
  • One newspaper photographer
  • Several reporters from print and radio
  • A crowd of civilians hungry for diversion
  • A dinky little swarm - maybe a pound of bees total (5,000 bees or so)
  • Crowd-control metal barriers that arrived to cordon off the entire sidewalk until the stragglers drifted off back to the hive from which the swarm issued.
"While all beekeepers can expect audiences for the obscure brand of magic we perform with a spray bottle of water, a whisk-broom brush, and a cardboard box, this was the first time I've ever had a swarm call that included a press conference! :)

"The photographers wanted me to put on a "bee suit", and I explained that I did not even own one. They begged with me to not make it look so easy/trivial/boring, so I wore a veil for a bit."

Jim also sent along this super-cool photo:

"In keeping with the whole 'Ghostbusters' theme," says Jim, "I have attached a photo of how I decorated the 'Bee Mobile' with magnetic vinyl and such to make it look much more like a, umm... bee. This was for a fun event at the Eastern Apicultural Society meeting last summer, held at U DE. The car is a 1982 Volvo 240 Wagon,and it has 1.2 million miles on it. Yeah, million. Good car, and very good maintenance."


Thew said...

I was struck by how the media entertainers, who claim to be reporting the news, were desperate to manipulate this story, making it more frightening, more dangerous, more wild and crazy. Yet another reason to turn the television off.

Gerry Gomez Pearlberg said...

We threw our TV out altogether and are much happier for it.