Tatum neighborhood battles bee infestation

By Bob Hallmark - bio | email

LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) - For some residents in Tatum, spring brings the renewal of an unpleasant nature problem. Abandoned for a decade, an old lumber store is a haven for stinging insects and other potentially dangerous wildlife.

Parents along Jefferson Street keep a close eye on their children, frightened because the back end of the nearby abandoned store is home to countless bees, wasps and other pests.

"I have to keep my three kids away from the swing-set," said concerned parent Shelly Carpenter. "They can't even play in their yard because they're scared. 'The bees are going to get me mommy,' that's what they say."

"It could be real serious if there's children walking around stinging bees," said Tatum police officer and animal control officer Karri Roehl. "Someone's allergic to them."

The bees are identified as wood bees, non aggressive, but little consolation to those who are allergic.

"One of my biggest concerns is I drop school children off at the end of this road and they have to walk by this building every day twice a day," said school bus driver Caffie Harris, who is allergic to bee stings.

The problem is not new.

"I've been living here seven years and for as long as I have been here the bees have infested this building," said Carpenter.

"We contacted city hall several times to have something done about this problem," said Harris.

Other animals have been spotted in the building, including skunks and feral cats. Parents are angry and want the property owner to do something.

"It's just scary and I'm tired of living this way," said Carpenter. "I'm tired of living scared."

The city is still trying to find who the owner is, but, regardless, action will be taken.

"We'll take care of it," said Roehl. "This will be taken care of."

The city is aware of the problem and will contact the appropriate owner, and provide him a reasonable amount of time to get rid of all pests. If the owner doesn't take action, the city will perform pest control and then present the owner a bill.

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