Homeowner: Massive bee colony overtakes Foothills property

Published: Apr. 20, 2017 at 2:29 PM MST|Updated: Apr. 20, 2017 at 4:19 PM MST
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(Source: Cindy Stewart)
(Source: Cindy Stewart)

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - A Tucson woman is dealing with a buzzing nightmare in the Foothills.

Cindy Stewart said she has been working to rid her home of a massive colony of bees for the past three days.

The buzzing of the vacuum drowned out the buzzing of the bees, because Greg Denker with American Bee Control is working to not kill the bees, but relocate them to various bee boxes and controlled hives around southern Arizona.

"This is a bee hive that has been undisturbed by people for a long time, so it's grown very large," Denker said.

By Denker's estimate, more than 50,000 Africanized Honey Bees made their home under the roofing and in the attic at Stewart's guest home on her property near East River and North Swan roads. The hive stretched about nine feet long.

It has been a feisty learning experience for Stewart.

"They're very aggressive, and they can sting you more than once," she said.

Denker said this hive was unmanageable because it was inside the wood paneling of the home. He said that a hive this large had likely taken about a year to develop.

"If there were laws against bee-keeping in Arizona this would be against the law. Every jurisdiction that has laws on bee-keeping says you have to have a hive that can be manipulated. So keeping a hive in a cavity inside of a roof is a no-no," he explained.

Stewart said Denker has been "working very diligently and cautiously to take care of the bee issue at hand." She had called several bee keepers, who all told her they were "swamped with calls."

The Tucson Fire Department said Monday, April 17, they are seeing an increase in bee calls as the weather warms up and plants begin to bloom.

Fire Capt. Barrett Baker said an increase in bee calls is something they see every April.

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