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Brian Porr has been calling authorities to complain about his neighbors’ bee-keeping hobby for three years and no one did anything. But on Wednesday the hives were hard to ignore as the bees swarmed, forcing the closure of an Astoria street for most of the day.
A U.S. Postal Service delivery man was the first to spot a tree on 48th Street covered with bees and immediately called 911 around 11 a.m.
Porr’s sister-in-law, AnnMarie Giganti, had just turned her car onto the block when she saw the scene.
“I couldn’t believe it, there were bees everywhere, the mailman was afraid to move,” she said.
The NYPD arrived and kept everyone back while they waited for the Police Department’s bee keeper to arrive. When the removal specialist went to work with a suctioning machine, it took him hours to clear the tree of an estimated 20,000 bees.
“This neighbor keeps two hives on his roof and this morning a queen bee left and the entire hive followed her right to the tree,” Porr said. “For three years I’ve called everyone from the politicians to 311. We tried everything and nobody helped.”
Porr lives so close to the hives he can see them from the kitchen.
“It’s a quality-of-life issue; we can’t ever use the backyard,” he said.
Giganti, whose family lives in the same two-family home as Porr, said her two boys don’t like to go outside.
“My youngest is allergic to bee stings, so he never goes out there,” she said. “We can’t even put up a pool this summer. Last year it was always full of dead bees because they come when they’re thirsty.”
The Astoria residents said they are frequently told when they complain that it is legal in New York state to keep bee hives on private property if they’re properly registered.
“It’s very frustrating as a homeowner that the city allows this in a residential neighborhood,” Giganti said.
But the bee population won’t likely be bothering the families - at least a while.
“They filled two 20 pound bags of bees this afternoon,” Porr said.
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4538.
©2014 Community Newspaper Group
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