Tribeca Bees Taken Into Custody as Cop Gives Them a New Home: His

Police Officer Michael Lauriano vacuums the beehive from a food delivery bike chained near the corner of Watts and Greenwich Streets. Lauriano, assigned to the 1st Precinct, is one of two members of the NYPD's bee squad. Photo: Carl Glassman/Tribeca Trib

Jun. 17, 2019

Tens of thousands of honeybees took up residence on a delivery bike in Tribeca late Sunday afternoon, only to be later scooped up and adopted by a 1st Precinct police officer.

Not just any cop, Officer Michael Lauriano does double duty as a member of the NYPD’s two-man bee squad—beekeepers who are equipped to handle the insects and transport them to safety.

The 911 calls came in around 5 p.m., complaining of a swarm buzzing at the corner of Greenwich and Watts Streets where bees were rapidly bunching into a giant hive on a China Blue food delivery bike.

Lauriano, who last August received notoriety for handling a swarm in Times Square that he also adopted, had just finished a Father’s Day dinner at home with his family in Long Island when he was summoned into service.

“We get a call, we drop everything for the love of the bees,” said Lauriano, a 19-year NYPD veteran.

In the meantime, cops cordoned off the bike and stood watch as passersby stopped to photograph the massive hive from behind police tape. It would take a few hours of fighting traffic before Lauriano could arrive at the scene. Quickly assessing the job ahead, he estimated the number of bees at about 30,000.

“This won’t take long,” he said.

Lauriano speculated that the bees came from a nearby hive and “the queen came down, she’s big, she’s beautiful, she has shorter wings and therefore she can’t fly as fast, so she took a pitstop on the bike.” The queen may have misconstrued part of the bike as a branch, Lauriano said, the sort of object bees like to land on.

The officer took from his car a vacuum attached by hose to a 5-gallon bee bucket, then donned a white jacket, and a hat with netting. A pair of gloves remained on the sidewalk. He believes that handling the bees with respect makes him a less likely target for stinging.

“I’m very kind and gentle with them. It’s life,” he said. “You have to be very respectful of life.”

As the special low-suction vacuum whirred, Lauriano raised the mouth of the hose near the hive, sending bees into the bucket by the hundreds per second. Within about 15 minutes the job was done. He held the bucket’s wire-mesh openings up to onlookers, giving them a chance to hear the chorus of thousands of fanning wings, and to feel the heat that they generate. “What they’re doing is venting that out, he said. So what I’m going to do is put them in the AC.

“I got a home waiting for them,” Lauriano added. “I’ll take good care of them.”