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Swarms Of Honey Bees Popping Up In Parts Of New York City

NORWALK, Conn. (CBSNewYork) -- First they were spotted covering a mailbox in Little Italy; on Monday a light post in lower Manhattan.

Swarms of bees are invading parts of New York City.

CBS 2's Elise Finch found out why this is happening and what you should do if you come face to face with the dangerous insects.

It appeared to be an ordinary white box, but inside were 15,000 honey bees, a buzzing army that just Monday swarmed a streetlight in Chinatown.

Beekeeper Andrew Cote got the view from the ground before removing them.

"The process to capture a swarm is pretty simple. As long as you get the queen in the receptacle then the other bees will follow her scent and you get them all," Cote said.

Cote is president of the New York City Beekeepers Association. His group helped police remove the bees and bring them to his Connecticut bee farm, where he and his father, who is also a beekeeper, set them up in their new home.

"They'll go out and start gathering nectar, pollen and water and bring it back to the hive. The queen will start laying eggs again, and the colony will grow until there are between 40,000 and 60,000 bees," Norm Cote said.

It might seem unusual to see swarms of bees in New York City, but the Cotes said honeybees swarm when their hives get overcrowded and this is the time of year when that happens. They also said there are more beekeepers in the city than ever before.

"The Department of Health recently made it legal for us to keep bees within the limit of New York City," Andrew Cote said.

More keepers equal more bees, but if you encounter a swarm, the experts said ignore them and they'll ignore you. Honey bees are least likely to sting when they're in large groups looking for a new home.

The honey bees removed from Chinatown are expected to produce 50 pounds of honey by the end of July. It will be sold at the Union Square green market.

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