Neighbor needs help with buzzing hazard at vacant house

Neighbor needs help with buzzing hazard at vacant house »Play Video
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — A northwest Bakersfield man said he's worried the vacant house next door is a real hazard. A huge swarm of bees has infested a tree in the front yard.

It's right next to Tim Renick's driveway, and he's allergic to bee stings. County officials told Eyewitness News they will deal with that Wednesday. But, Renick has been frustrated by that problem and a number of other issues.

"I can't get anyone to respond on how to get rid of them," Renick complained. "I'm allergic, so it's a pretty big issue for me."

Renick said he's contacted Kern County Code Compliance about the situation. Eyewitness News discovered those officers will deal with the bees.

"We've contacted a local bee contractor," code supervisor Chris Hengst said on Tuesday. "We're going to pay him $150 to have these bees removed tomorrow."

That's good news for Renick. The last time he got stung by a bee, a friend had to rush him to a hospital.

"I was in dire straits, no kidding," Renick said. "They had a respiratory team working on me for nine house. When I woke up, they were all clapping."

Renick said when a bee stings him, his body swells up and pretty much shuts down.

But there are more problems with the vacant house, and those can't be taken care of right away. The abandoned property is in the 2300 block of Verdudo Lane. Renick said the property's been abandoned for about 10 years.

The bees are in one of two big trees in the front yard, but Renick said a big tree in the back is causing a number of problems. One large branch hangs over Renick's house, and he's worried about that danger. Plus, the tree's roots are damaging Renick's driveway and fence.

"Unfortunately, that's a civil issue," Hengst said. "So that would be between him and the adjoining property owner."

Renick will have to take the property owner to court.

But, finding that owner has been a problem for code officers. Hengst said they were called out a couple years ago, and tried to get the property owner to close up the house and get rid of weeds and brush in the yard. They were unsuccessful in that, and county officials eventually hired a contractor to board up the house and clear the yards.

The house is posted with an orange notice that it's unsafe to occupy.

"Obviously, now the door has been kicked in again by who knows what, and the weeds are back again," Hengst said. He added code compliance got a complaint about the new problems on Sept. 6.

Hengst said on that day officers sent a notice to the property-owner outlining what needs to be corrected. By law, they have to wait 30 days before any more action can be taken. So, they're in the waiting period for those problems. After that, the county can again get the work done and bill the property owner.

But, the big swarm of bees will be dealt with now.

"That's just a random act, not really the fault of anybody," Hengst said. So, since it's a potential health hazard, the county will move forward. That's what they can do now with problem vacant house, and an owner who won't answer their notices.

"We've never been successful in getting them to do things in the past," Hengst said. "We're just choosing to move forward with the bees. But we're going to wait with the securing of the building and the weeds."

For problems with vacant houses and properties, residents in Kern County can call the code compliance hotline at (661) 862-8603. Residents in the city of Bakersfield can call their code enforcement office at 326-3712.