Foreclosed, neglected homes may harbor Africanized bees

CREATED Jul. 14, 2011

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  • Empty, poorly maintained homes become prime properties for bees Video by kgun9.com

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Reporter: Craig Smith

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - In the past few days, aggressive, Africanized bees demonstrated just how dangerous they can be when a Tucson man died after thousands of stings.

Thursday there was another attack but not as bad and as it turns out, where it happened is opening our eyes to the fact that our economic troubles are giving the bees new places to hide.
         
It's a case where there's an extra sting to the foreclosure crisis. 
Neglected, foreclosed homes are becoming prime places for Africanized bees to nest.

They were uninvited guests at a house in Midvale Park.
      
The home is a foreclosed property.  When the former owners moved out, Africanized bees moved in.
       
When neighborhood kids disturbed the bees the kids ended up stung and swollen.
       
With the house in foreclosure there was no one keeping a close eye on the house and grounds, so there was no one to have them removed.
        
It's a syndrome Steve Krogh has before at Triple A Africanized Bee Removal.

"The people are losing their houses so they really don't care about the upkeep and the maintenance of them.  They're not going to spend money to have the bees taken care of." 

KGUN 9 reporter Craig Smith asked: "And when they fall under control of the banks they don't really keep them up either?"

Steve Krogh:"Correct.  They try to get rid of them as soon as they possibly can with as little cost as possible."
       
It can be tough to keep bees from nesting in even a well maintained house.  They can come in through a hole as small as a pencil eraser.
       
And here's another reason to steer clear of bees and have them removed if you see them.
        
Last winter's hard freeze that broke pipes and made life miserable killed lots of bees.  The ones tough enough to survive are some of the strongest, most aggressive bees bee specialists have seen in years.

Craig Smith asked Steve Krogh: "Typically how close would you be to a hive before the bees would start trying to chase you away?" 

Krogh:"It ranges in between 30 feet to a hundred feet just depending on how well established the colony is and how defensive they are. 

Smith: "And these more aggressive colonies are going to want to, they'll go after you from a greatest distance?"

Krogh: "Correct.  They'll protect a greater radius around their nest."

At AAA Bee Removal they say it's really a good idea to check around your house once a week to look for any spots where bees are going in and out.  The sooner you find them, the easier the removal.