About 3 million bees were seized from the home of a Queens, N.Y., man who had been a beekeeper in his native China and found the insects were getting out of control.
Yi Gin Chen, a resident of the Corona neighborhood, is trying to sell his home, and the 45 hives containing some 3 million bees had to be seized when he couldn't control them.
The New York City Beekeepers Association helped seize the bees, much to the relief of Chen's neighbors.
"All rules of good urban beekeeping and of common sense have been ignored here," New York City Beekeepers Association President Andrew Cote told the New York Daily News. "I thought I've seen it all in urban beekeeping, and this surprised me."
Chen's neighbor, Louie Socci, told the paper he complained about the bees to the city but it never took action.
"You never seen anything like it in your life," Socci, 58, said, estimating that "a big swarm of a couple million bees" would envelop his block on 111th Street in the morning.
Of Chen, Socci told the paper, "the guy's nuts. I called the city once and they didn't do anything."
Chen told the New York Post that he was a beekeeper in his native China.
"I keep the bees like a dog or a pet," he told the paper.
Detective Anthony Planakis, whom the Post described as the NYPD's "top expert" on bees, said there's no comparison between the number of bees kept by Chen and the number of animals kept by other pet owners.
"Picture 45 dogs in one apartment," Planakis told the Post. "It's cruelty to the bees."
Cote noted that the 3 million bees seized outnumbered the human residents of Queens, according to NBC News.
"There was literally no way for the neighbors to get out of their homes without facing a swarm of bees," he told the New York Post.
While beekeeping is legal in New York City, owners who do not register their hives face fines, according to NBC News.