This article originally appeared in the June 7, 2012 edition of ABC News.
By Matthew Rosenbaum
There’s a growing trend in America’s major cities and it’s taking the country by swarm — swarms of bees that is.
Beekeeping has made its way to an urban environment, with recreational beekeepers practicing their hobby in some unlikely locations — such as the top of the luxury Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York.
That’s where we found Andrew Cote, who works with the New York Police Department to combat bee-mergencies, dealing with private hives when the bees get out of control and swarm.
Even though Cote’s job entails dealing with angry bees and their stingers on a daily basis, he doesn’t have any fear.
“I know there’s no danger,” he told ABC News’ Nick Schifrin, “Thirty people have been killed this year so far by subways in New York City. And so far, the honeybees have a zero.”
Cote is finding his hands full as the popularity of the hobby increases and amateur apiarists find themselves losing control of their hives, causing their bees to swarm.
“Usually, when people do not take good care of their bees, almost always they end up swarming,” he said. “And when they swarm, I get a phone call, and I go pick up their swarm.”
Still, he believes that if properly handled bees pose no threat.
“With proper handling, bees will not swarm.” he told ABC News. “I think many dogs are programmed to bite, but with a little training, they become great pets. “
What is behind the popularity of this rapidly growing and sting-intensive pastime?
“Beekeeping is a great hobby,” Cote said. “It’s relaxing, it’s calming.”
With hundreds of thousands of bees ready to sting you at a moment’s notice, some may find that a little difficult to believe.