Retired NYPD detective Tony Planakis, known as “TonyBees,” was the first person to convince me of the wonders of infrared photography for beekeeping. Once I saw photos of his colonies, I was convinced that infrared was the way to go.
But his latest adventure just blew me away. Tony was called to a house in East Islip, New York to investigate a colony of bees in the wall of a guest room. In a corner of the room, he found the largest colony he had ever seen in the wall of a building—and Tony has seen hundreds over his 40 years working with bees and cut-outs.
A guest room for 120,000
The entire nest measures about 15 inches across and 7.5 feet (90 inches) high and contains roughly 120,000 bees. No one knows exactly how old the nest is, but the owners thought they first heard a buzz from the guest room several years ago. Based on experience, Tony thinks the colony is at least seven years old. The 1938 home was a perfect choice for the bees because the walls are not insulated, and the chimney bricks have pulled away from the mortar, leaving a convenient access point.
Tony explained that removing the colony now—going into the winter months—would destroy it. So the owners of the home, Nicholas and Sandra Sarro, agreed to leave it in place until spring. As of now, TonyBees is planning to remove the colony in April. Be sure to click the links (above) for more photos and details of the discovery.
Waiting for April
So TonyBees, don’t leave us in suspense! We expect to see lots more photos in April. Thanks so much for sharing your awesome photo.
Honey Bee Suite
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