Los Angeles

Bees, Bye: City Removes Reseda Tree After Angry Swarms Attack Residents

Bees had completely taken over the tree and had stung many neighbors over the past three years.

A three-year-long nightmare for residents of a Reseda community ended Friday. Los Angeles utility crews removed a hollow tree in the neighborhood that had been completely infested by bees.

Those living near the tree said bees would constantly chase and sting them, forcing them to run to their cars.

Valerie Kate, who lives across the street from the tree, said Wednesday she had called the city of LA’s 311 service as well has city councilman Bob Blumfield’s office numerous times over the past three years. She said the city barely responded.

"They appear [like] they don’t care," Kate said. "They say it’s funding, they say it’s backlog, they say they’re [short] of personnel, they don’t have enough people and I don’t know what our tax dollars are going to."

Workers had patched a hole in the tree using clay, but neighbors said that only made the problem worse. Instead of swarming inside the tree, the bees moved out in the open.

"They took over the whole entire tree completely," neighbor Angel Sandoval said. "It's quite hollow inside."

After NBC4 covered the bizzare problem Wednesday, residents finally got a response from the city. The tree was first treated Thursday, prompting a large swarm that made it impossible to go outside. The city then decided to remove the tree starting Friday morning.

The bees themselves could not be relocated and preserved, Kate said Friday, although not for lack of trying.

"We've tried to rescue them and got outside companies, but because the bees were not in a separate hive on the outside -- they had all infested inside a tree trunk, a hollow trunk, there's no way to save them," Kate said.

Even if the bees had been able to be safely extracted, Kate claims the process would have cost hundreds of dollars and there would have been no guarantee the tree would have remained bee-free.

Now, though, this community can breathe a sigh of relief, not having to live in fear of getting chased and stung.

NBC4's Beverly White contributed to this report.

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