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A swarm of bees was just gently vacuumed from a Times Square hot dog stand umbrella

A swarm of bees was just gently vacuumed from a Times Square hot dog stand umbrella


The fuzzy criminals are safe now

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Bees are good. Despite the fact that they are dying at an alarming rate, these buzzy, fuzzy girls are often unfairly maligned just because they have stingers. Bees also enjoy swarming — although “enjoy” might be the wrong word, as swarming is how hives naturally reproduce. That said, sometimes bees swarm in a place that is inconvenient for people. (I like to think they enjoy hanging out where people are, although that is almost certainly not the case.) Today, in Times Square, a swarm of bees landed on the umbrella attached to a hot dog vendor’s cart.

While I’m sure they love a good New York City hot dog and were probably just looking for a little street meat — I mean, honestly, can you blame them? In this economy? — the bees managed to disrupt Times Square. The NYPD deployed its official beekeeper to collect the thousands-strong party. He used a vacuum to gently scoop the bees off the dog cart and into a safer space (a nice, comfy bee bag). It was all live-streamed by Reuters, and the internet — at least the corner that cares about things that happen in New York — dropped everything to watch it happen for a few, bee-lessed minutes.

Bees swarm after a new virgin queen is born. After some workers, who are also bees, do scouting runs, the old queen departs with a large percentage of the colony to start a new hive. This generally happens over a multiple-week period in the spring, but sometimes it happens other times of the year. (Source: I studied bumblebees and their parasites for a little while in college. It involved collecting their poop!) This past June, for example, thousands of bees swarmed an NYPD camera on Broadway and 42nd Street; the camera box was assessed and accepted as a cool location for a new hive.

Last year, also in June, the bees took over Times Square.

Twenty thousand of them even visited us here at Vox Media that same month! Humans may complain about Midtown, but bees apparently can’t get enough.

Anywho, bees. They’re incredibly important to humans — they pollinate a ton of the plants that we eat — and they deserve our appreciation. Plus, they’re cute. Buzz buzz!