Anthony ”Tony Bees” Planakis (AP)
Anthony Planakis (AP): When you’re going through the academy they put out this little card and they ask you on there, ’hey, whatever you’re interested in just put it down over there.’ Beekeeping, of course I put that down. And the very first job the sergeant comes right up to me and I just look up and I go ’Hey, Sarge.’ And he goes, ’Bees?’ And I go, ’Yeah, where?’ ’Harlem.’ And I go, ’Cool.’ That was it, that was the first job I handled.
Whenever I’m working a swarm, I hear nothing around me. I mean, you can have a jackhammer running down below, I wouldn’t even hear it. I’m in the perfect world now. Actually, that’s the only time I feel safe. I’m never scared, never afraid. So, uh, I think it’s in my blood.
My father was taught the art of beekeeping by my grandfather. But growing up I wanted nothing to do with it. Then 1977, springtime. My father looked at me and he goes, ’Grab that chair, sit in front of the hive.’ And I looked at him and I go, ’You’re crazy. I’m not sitting in the front over there.’ And he goes, ’Just sit there, I want you to see what’s gonna happen.’
The sun was just coming up over the hill, dawn was just breaking. Lo and behold as soon as that sun hit that hive, they started flying out. Let me tell ya, that was the alarm clock going off. And, uh, it was gorgeous, it was beautiful. And he goes, ’They know what to do. They have to work. And that’s their job, to work, until they die.’ And uh, I mean that’s what I do. I don’t go on vacations. I see it as a waste of time. ‘Cause I’d rather work with them.
And I look at them as my children, which I don’t have any children. But I look at them as, I took it upon myself to say hey I’m adopting you know, ah, 27,000 kids right here. So I better be looking out for them.
So, I’ve learned from the bees patience, respect, you know, and um, I guess work ’til you die.