FOX 8 Defenders: Westwego residents concerned over apparent bee infestation

Updated: May. 16, 2019 at 4:17 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - Some Westwego residents are asking for help as they deal with an abandoned house which appears to be infested with wasps and bees.

Several neighbors say they have already been stung.

David Wilson is a proud Westwego homeowner who never grooms his lawn without a can of insecticide nearby, to protect against bee bites.

" One time, and it hurt...that's why I keep some spray out," said Wilson.

He and his neighbors say the problem resides in this abandoned home in the 140 block of Helen Dr...and the pests often have the run of the block.

"They're just everywhere...they kind of swarm, they're coming now actually," said

Andrea Matthews. She keeps her two year old daughter Yoli Close, after filming a big swarm yesterday.

" Like a tornado above the house...with wasps," she said.

" It's been over a year, we've been dealing with these bees," said neighbor Walter Guittierrez

Local bee expert Jeff Horchoff says this is a particularly active time of year.

"As the nectar flow comes into play, the hives start swarming again...they've already outgrown their hives, and they will send out subsequent swarms," said Horchoff.

And that means, some of the bees may look for a new place to nest.

" I just want someone to come do something with this house," said neighbor Walt Guittierrez.

The bees can be seen moving in and out of the house through various cracks, and holes like that one, and our bee expert tells us in an abandoned house situation like this one, the swarm inside could be huge.

" I've had hives in houses that weren't in use in 3 years, and we're talking 40,000 bees," said Horchoff.

Neighbors say they reached out to the parish to try and have something done but the problem appears to be worsening. For now, parish officials are scheduling an inspection, which neighbors say cant come soon enough.

"Tear it down...or remodel it or something," said Wilson.

They worry that as kids get out of school...some might get stung.

" Get it fixed, because they're everywhere," said Matthews.

Bee experts say in spite of a bee shortage in some parts of the world, bee populations in the southeastern U.S. are in good shape, especially in this Westwego neighborhood.

Jefferson parish spokeswoman Samantha Decastro says inspectors will look at the house and attempt to address complaints within the next three days. She says it has had several liens placed on it, to cover parish grass cutting costs.

Bee experts recommend removing the swarm, by removing the queen, to help establish a new hive, somewhere else. They say bees are important for honey production, and agriculture, and should not be exterminated.

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