City of San Antonio takes action on bee hive after complaint to KSAT Defenders

Thousands of bees removed from vacant home on West Mistletoe

SAN ANTONIO – The City of San Antonio has removed a beehive from inside the exterior wall of a vacant house on the near north side after neighbors' complaints.

Neighbors on West Mistletoe such as Ruby Ortiz imagined little trick or treaters being stung by bees as they ring doorbells there on Halloween night.

She lives directly next door to the house and said the bees were coming into her home and frightening her children.

"They're starting to go into the kids' room, my daughter's room," Ortiz said. "They don't want to be in there because there's a whole swarm of bees inside."

She emailed the KSAT 12 Defenders about the bees after she said she got no response from the city after two months of calling.

She said she called 3-1-1 several times as well as Code Enforcement Services. "We've gotten stung already so we don't want the kids to get stung," Ortiz said.

Her fiancé Roy Gomez said he used to barbeque on the front porch, where dead bees are on the floor and in the Halloween spider webbing.

"We've had maybe, I want to say 200, 250 bees up there at one time," Gomez said. "And it's dangerous. It's dangerous for the kids and us."

The KSAT Defenders called the city about the bees and the Metropolitan Health Department investigated.

But officials there said they can only go onto private property if there is a danger to the public.

But a bee removal team was sent in after Code Enforcement got involved and determined this was a danger to the public.

The crew cut into the wall of the vacant home and removed a large amount of honeycomb and a bunch of busy bees.

Mike Shannon, Assistant Director of Development Services, said this was an emergency removal. "Where it could become a safety issue for the residents around there the city is allowed to go in and abate that and we'll charge the owner," Shannon said.

He said the city had been out there earlier but could not find the bees. And once they did, they knew they had to act quickly. "It was such a hazard, we thought, to the surrounding community that we had to do it right away," Shannon said.

The removal thrilled Gomez, who watch the operation from the curb. "I'm happy," Gomez said. "I can go out of town and be comfortable. And barbeque."
And, there are no longer any worries for trick or treaters.

The owner of the vacant home will be billed for the bee removal as well as any future cleanup and securing of the property.

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