(NEW YORK) — A New York City neighborhood was abuzz when nearly three million bees were seized from a beekeeper in Queens who violated urban beekeeping rules.
Beekeepers descended on the Corona, New York home of Yi Gin Chen Wednesday night to collect the hives in the 58-year-old man’s driveway and yard.
Police say that the man began his hobby with one hive two years ago, but since then his swarm has grown out of control, to 45 hives and millions of bees.
New York City’s board of health lifted a ban on beekeeping in March of 2010, which opened the door for many fans of the insect to keep Apis mellifera — the non-aggressive honeybee. The bee population has been dwindling.
Beekeepers in New York City are required to register with the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and to adhere to appropriate practices.
“I think he violated a lot of common sense doctrine. He was a bad steward to the bees,” Andrew Corte, president of the New York City Beeekeepers Association, told ABC News.
“Being a beekeeper is to be sure bees are placed in a manner that doesn’t harm neighbors. This man had several hives within of a few feet of his neighbors,” he said.
ABC News was unable to reach Chen for comment.
Best practices for urban beekeeping include maintain a docile and non-defensive colony, ensuring neighbors are not outside when the hive is opened, and meticulous record keeping, according to the Beeekeepers Association.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Ivaylo Vezenkov and Lauren del Valle, CNN
Miranda Green, CNN
Sandra Gonzalez, CNN