To Bee Or Not To Bee? 50,000 Honey Bees Lived In Woman’s New York Apartment

Here’s a story that’s sure to get a lot of buzz. With the world’s population of honey bees mysteriously declining and scientists trying to figure out where they’ve all gone, one woman in Queens, New York may have an answer — her apartment!

Frieda Turkmenilli had noticed that there were a few honey bees buzzing around her apartment from time to time over recent weeks, but she had no idea that just feet above her head. In the space above her ceiling, an entire, thriving bee civilization was going about its daily business.

Amazingly, Turkmenilli isn’t the one who complained about the bees. She had no idea how many of the little creatures were busily working away up there. Her neighbors began to get annoyed by the bees that seemed to be constantly inside the Elmhurst, Queens, apartment building, and more than one of them called the building manager, Mike Candan.

Candan, thoughtfully did not bring in an exterminator. Instead he called two professional beekeepers, Anthony Planakis and Larry Stone. Using heat-detecting devices they found exactly where the thriving bee colony had staked its claim. And astonishingly, this was not just a small cluster of rogue bees, this was a full-fledged colony with a population of — ready for this? — more than 50,000 bees.

The bee colony was doing exactly what bee colonies do — producing honey. In fact, when Planakis and Stone donned their head-to-toe protective gear and opened up Turkmenilli’s ceiling they found a feast of the sweet, sticky stuff in there along with the bees. The bee colony had produced not one, not two, not even three — but 17 honeycombs in the apartment ceiling.

“It’s pretty amazing to think they found this one little hole, and they went in and set up shop, and started making honey,” marveled Candan.

But Turkmenilli was flabbergasted. “How did they get there? Where did they come from?” she said to New York’s ABC 7 News. “I was shocked.”

The beekeepers said the answer is pretty simple. Bees just want a nice place to call their own, not too different from people.

“They’re gonna go out and find a suitable home, and come back to the swarm and relay the message,” Planakis said. “And they’re gonna go to that location.”

As for the fate of the bee colony, it may not have its Elmhurst, Queens, home anymore, but those bees will be fine. The two beekeepers — who have a long resumé of bee removals — used humane methods to capture the bees who, along with their honeycombs, have now been relocated to a bee farm in upstate New York.