Vacant House w/ Bee Hive

9 Replies

Hello All

I have a house down in Dickinson Texas and am having an issue with the vacant home next to me.  The home contains a large bee hive.  The home has an owner but has been on the city demo list for several years.  The other home owners on the block have started leaning on the city code enforcer about the issue, without any resolve.  The city sent a bee keeper to the house and he said the hive has taken over the front living room, garage, one back bedroom, and is well over 1,000,000. bee's.  The renters I had in the home contacted me that they (dad and 7 year old son) had been stung and cannot mow the side of the their house because of the issue.  I called city hall and after getting the run around from 20 people I was directed to code enforcement.  After leaving several messages with no reply, I was able to contact a lady that did not give a crap.  She actually hung up on me the first phone call because I was not accepting her answer of "not their issue", and I needed to contact the owner.  Finally I told her that I was taking a ledger of all our conversations, to which she was more open to hearing about the situation.  I expressed to her that the bee's have started stinging parents and children on the block, but she was not concerned.  She said she would look into it and let me know.  When she called me back, she said that all she could do was bring the situation up to the owner by mail.  Because my rental home is in my company's name, she started asking me questions about my company.  I told her my company is not harboring bee's and is not to topic of conversation.  I have started a log of call time and who I talk to, so if someone does get hurt or killed, I have documentation that the city was aware of this issue.  Also, I cant rent a home out knowing the house next door posses a direct danger.  Does anyone have any advice on where I should take this situation?

Hello Granville,

Wow, I feel your frustration and empathize with you with government agencies. It really depends on the risk vs. reward for you and how much time/money you have on hand.

My gut reaction: lawyer up and prepare to sue both the city and land owner for creating hazardous living conditions. If you can show proof of loss of funds from renting, then you might be able to sue the city for that. I would talk with your lawyer of failure of code enforcement at the city level. 

Also, if a government employee has to go over to that property for some reason, then it could expedite the process for you. For example, if child services or the police had to do a welfare check on the individuals at that property and are getting stung, then the problem starts affecting more people and it gets resolved quicker.

Keep us posted with what happens!

Have you considered contacting your local news?

I know I would love watching a segment on '1 MILLION bees stinging residents and why the town isn't doing anything about it!'

I can picture their reporter questioning the mayor about it. I'd bet it gets taken care of one way or another.

Get a cheap beekeeper coverall from amazon and have it for their cameraman when they come. :)

Originally posted by @Granville L. :

Hello All

I have a house down in Dickinson Texas and am having an issue with the vacant home next to me.  The home contains a large bee hive.  The home has an owner but has been on the city demo list for several years.  The other home owners on the block have started leaning on the city code enforcer about the issue, without any resolve.  The city sent a bee keeper to the house and he said the hive has taken over the front living room, garage, one back bedroom, and is well over 1,000,000. bee's.  The renters I had in the home contacted me that they (dad and 7 year old son) had been stung and cannot mow the side of the their house because of the issue.  I called city hall and after getting the run around from 20 people I was directed to code enforcement.  After leaving several messages with no reply, I was able to contact a lady that did not give a crap.  She actually hung up on me the first phone call because I was not accepting her answer of "not their issue", and I needed to contact the owner.  Finally I told her that I was taking a ledger of all our conversations, to which she was more open to hearing about the situation.  I expressed to her that the bee's have started stinging parents and children on the block, but she was not concerned.  She said she would look into it and let me know.  When she called me back, she said that all she could do was bring the situation up to the owner by mail.  Because my rental home is in my company's name, she started asking me questions about my company.  I told her my company is not harboring bee's and is not to topic of conversation.  I have started a log of call time and who I talk to, so if someone does get hurt or killed, I have documentation that the city was aware of this issue.  Also, I cant rent a home out knowing the house next door posses a direct danger.  Does anyone have any advice on where I should take this situation?

I agree with the news solution. You may not want to lawyer up against the city. That can and usually does backfire on you. It would be so easy to find something obscure that is against code on your house. 

You may want to see if any of the other neighbors on the street will also start to call.  They say the squeaky wheel gets the grease, maybe a few more wheels would help.

I'm a beekeeper, so I'm going to come at this from the bees' point of view.

You should contact the homeowner yourself and ask if you can help them coordinate the removal of the bees.  

This will take a team of beekeepers, but I can pretty much guarantee that your local beekeeping club (once they get permission from the owner) would absolutely LOVE to get in there and remove the bees.  They'll relocate them into several hives (this may be big enough to have more than one queen) and they may even use it as a training exercise for their newer members.

If this is not accepted by either the homeowner or the local beekeeping club, then make an offer to buy the house and expand your circle of calling to beekeeping clubs until you find one that will do the job.  The whole thing would be fascinating, the honey is likely delicious and if you can get somebody to film the whole process, you've got an amazing show on your hands.

The renovations after the bees are gone will be incredibly messy and the vast majority of the drywall, if not all of it, is going to have to go.  When you make an offer to buy, just plan on a full gut remodel.

If these are regular honeybees, they generally don't attack unless threatened.  (The neighbor trying to mow would be a threat.... the vibration of the mower is a big problem for bees).  But in general, people coming and going from your house shouldn't be an issue unless the houses are right on top of each other.  

However, if the swarm is Africanized, then they may be more aggressive than the average bee, in which case this would explain people getting stung that aren't bothering the colony.  

I wish I were in your neighborhood.  I'd take this on in a heartbeat and enjoy myself the entire time.

I live in Oak Forest and there's a neighborhood beekeeper who will remove bee hives for free. He has a bee farm somewhere out in the country and he sells the honey to local markets. Supposedly local pollen honey is good for allergies.

Maybe there's someone in your area that does the same thing?

That does sound like a pretty massive job though.

Originally posted by @Granville L. :

Linda

That is a very interesting approach.   Do you know how I would be able to find the local bee keeper club?  Thank you all for your advice.

 If a google search doesn't turn up anything, you may want to call the state club - they will know the local clubs.  If that doesn't pan out, try your county agricultural extension office.