A bee specialist said there may be up to a million bees living in the roof and walls of resident Elvia Murphy’s home. She first noticed the bee colony in her Mission Estates home three years ago and said they have multiplied since. “They don’t pay rent,” she joked with the local CBS News station.
The city of El Paso has deferred responsibility for the bees to the homeowners. However, the Murphys, an elderly couple who also care for someone in the house with special needs, cannot afford to have the bees removed and replace the walls and roof of their home. “Last year, they weren't quite as aggressive as they are this year,” Murphy said. “During the winter, they were pretty dormant so we didn't have them,” Ms Murphy said.
“We can't go out to the side of the house or the back of the house. We have a nice patio in the back, but we haven't been able to get back there to even clean it out. They just attack,” she complained.
There is also a school across from the home, adding to the neighbourhood’s anxiety over the hybrid European and African bees, which specialist Pyong Livingston said are “20, 30 times more aggressive than regular honeybees”.
Specialists attempted to move at least some of the bees from the outside and parts of the inside of the home and were marginally successful.
The colony became aggressive and stung local reporter Rudy Reyes of KFOX14, who said: "I went on top of the roof...As soon as [we] got there and opened the roof, the shingles from the roof, it was, like, believe me, it was like a horror movie-- seeing this swarm of bees just coming out in a black cloud. Within seconds, I started getting stung by bees. I got two in the eye, in the head, and I just went into my unit. Even though I went into my unit, I still got bees inside my” protective suit.
There are still bees left, but fewer than before and the neighbourhood is looking to come together and help have them relocated. For now, the street where the Murphys live has been blocked off but reports have said children continue to walk by the home.
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