May 15th, 2012
01:20 PM ET

Manhattan's busiest beekeeper is a man with a mission

“It’s like crack.”

That’s how Andrew Cote describes his obsession with beekeeping, a career that keeps him buzzing from the heights of Manhattan’s most famous rooftops to the far reaches of the African bush.

As a founder of the New York City Beekeepers Association, Cote helped legalize beekeeping in the city, working with the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to develop a best-practices guide for tending hives in the five boroughs. The NYCBA’s mission is to promote safe and responsible beekeeping - an important task at a time when bees are disappearing from parts of the planet.

“Particularly in an urban environment,” he explains, “people need to be very, very good stewards of their bees. They need to tend to them well, inspect them regularly, make sure that they have room to grow and that they’re not going to swarm.”

Of course, when New York City bees do swarm, Cote is the NYPD’s go-to bee guy. This spring alone, he’s been called to wrangle swarms in Staten Island, Harlem, Queens and on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue.

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