GARDEN CITY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- A massive beehive was recently discovered in the foyer and walls of a Long Island home.
The aroma of honey and the sound of buzzing could be heard from the street, CBS2's Jennifer McLogan reportedly exclusively on Wednesday.
Tom Egel is a hit with his Garden City neighbors, and not just because of the 91-year-old's friendly personality. It's also due to the unique visitors in his Tudor home on Kildare Road -- 80,000 honeybees.
"There was bees in the house 40-50 years ago, but I didn't pay any attention to it until I retired," Egel said.
Egel used to run a hardware store, but retired to be at home with his wife.
"My wife passed away six years ago. She didn't even know about the bees," Egel said.
It was then a letter carrier complained after hearing buzzing and even smelling honey.
"So I had to put a mailbox on the side door," Egel said.
That prompted him to call in the experts. Enter Anthony Planakis, known as "Tony Bees," a retired NYPD detective.
"Oh it was great. It was like walking through a beehive," Planakis said.
Planakis and his team donned the protective gear and went to work, using thermal imaging cameras and endoscopes, to get behind the stone and stucco.
"I actually felt bad because they did such a beautiful job of camouflage," Planakis said. "We were drenched from head to toe with honey."
Honeybees, the world's most important pollinator of crops, are endangered. This colony was saved, has a new home in Queens, and is thriving, after spending generations in Egel's home.
"How do you tell them, 'Listen, I'm moving you out of here and bringing you to a better place?'" Planakis said.
"I took them to Astoria and he's cultivating them for honey," Egel said.
And the batches Planakis makes, raw and unfiltered, are yummy.
The honeycomb and surplus wax produce candles, lip balm, hand cream, and more.
"I love the honeybees. It has been my life. It has been my passion," Planakis said.
"But they didn't pay rent. That's the only problem," Egel added.
No rent, but they've left behind a legacy of memories.
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