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Bees bugging Castaic residents

n Homeowners say beehive farm exists behind Hillcrest Park

Posted: May 23, 2009 10:13 p.m.
Updated: May 24, 2009 4:55 a.m.

A group of bees gather on a wet rock beside a rock water fountain in the backyard of a house on Glade Court in Castaic where the large number of bees have become a nuisance.

 

Homeowners in one Castaic neighborhood want a swarming bunch of bees to buzz off.

Last year, Brian Flatterbeck noticed his backyard was being infiltrated with dozens of bees swarming around his koi pond and pool. He did nothing about it. But now the pesky little honies are back. And after falling victim to their sting multiple times, Flatterbeck is taking action.

Flatterbeck, who is allergic to bees, said he and one of his sons have been stung four times this spring season. His other son was stung twice.

After some on-the-ground investigation of his own, Flatterbeck, who lives off Glade Court, discovered several boxes of bee hives located behind the hills of the neighborhood — less than a mile’s walk from his home.

Flatterbeck distributed fliers to his neighbors, asking that residents experiencing similar problems to contact local government officials.

Castaic Area Town Councilwoman Renee Sabol said she has received complaints from about six residents in the Hillcrest Park area.

Sabol, who also lives in Hillcrest Park, said prior to hearing the resident’s concerns she hadn’t noticed any unusual bee activity in her own yard. But two weeks ago, there was a swarm around a tree in her yard, she said.

“I went up and did a little tour and saw that there are many bee hives up there (behind the hills),” Sabol said. “When I went up to tour, it was obvious someone had put some water barrels for water for the bees to drink. I still haven’t talked to the owner.”

“I don’t mind if you want to have beehives, but oh my God, don’t put them up against a housing tract,” Sabol added.

Sabol said the Castaic Town Council was able to get a zoning enforcement representative from the Los Angeles County Department of Regional Planning involved.

“They’re going to make a trip out next week,” she said. Sabol said the area is zoned in such a way that a permit is not required for bees on the property. But “the county is going to send someone out and see if there are some things that can be done,” Sabol said.

The zoning representative Sabol has been working with was not able to be reached on Friday.

Not all residents in the area have noticed much of a buzz. But Flatterbeck’s neighbor, Lisa Aaron, said the bees, which congregate around her pool, become “quite a problem” when her family wants to use the pool or backyard during the day.

She recalled a day last spring when the bees almost completely covered a car the family had rented.

“It was like a horror movie,” she said.

“It’s affecting the neighbors and I’m hoping L.A. County or whoever, will take over and be able to convince the owner to move the bees.

They have to move ... we cannot coexist the way they are right now,” Sabol said.  

Flatterbeck is also determined to get the beehives removed.

“This is going to be resolved because we can’t live like this,” Flatterbeck said. “Our children and our pets are at risk.”

Jason March, local owner of Traffic Pest Solutions, said residents who are worried about bees entering their home should keep all holes filled around their house and watch out for vents not screened properly.

For a resident who sees a swarm, March suggested waiting three days before calling pest control.

“A lot of times if it’s just a massive bee ball, without comb; it’s just a swarm and it’s going to leave,” he said.

For homeowners who want to enjoy their yards, March suggested hoisting a Tiki Torch.

“Anything that will make smoke will keep bees away,” he said.

 

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