Massive 100,000+ bee colony discovered during East Islip home renovation

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An East Islip homeowner undergoing a home renovation says he was shocked when he was told more than 100,000 honeybees had made a home in his walls. 

Nicholas Sarro had always seen bees in and around the walls of his 1930s-era home, but an enormous 7-foot-tall colony with 120,000 honey bees was a big surprise.

When Sarro decided to replace the roof on his home earlier in the year, he called local beekeeper Anthony “Tony Bees” Planakis to take a look at the scene.

Planakis used a thermal imaging camera to locate the bees within the walls of the home. He says there are about 30,000 bees in the wall this month because they're dormant in the fall.

In a photo from when he was at the house in the summer, the hive was four times bigger and held about 120,000 bees.

Sarro says he still wants to fix his roof, but he also wants to have the bees relocated without harming them since bee populations are on the decline.

Removing the large hive from the wall will not be an easy task. Beekeepers say it could take three to four days of work to safely and properly remove the bees. “It’s like a surgery, you are doing an extraction here,” says Planakis.

However, Planakis says he can't remove the bees until the spring when there's more pollen for the bees to collect. He says the bees won't hurt the home and Sarro says he doesn't mind them in the meantime.

When the bees are removed, there could be as much as 40 to 50 pounds of valuable honey inside, says Planakis.

Sarro says he plans to give the honey to family and friends and possibly to his church to help with fundraising efforts.

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