HOUSTON – A historic community center in southwest Houston is one step closer to returning to its original purpose now that tens of thousands of unwanted guests have been rounded up and carted away – along with their queens.
The Almeda Plaza Civic Club clubhouse on Knotty Oaks Trail fell into disrepair years ago and became a community eyesore. Plans to tear down the structure and rebuild were put on hold when two massive bee hives were discovered in the walls of the building.
“I don’t know if they’re honey bees or killer bees but every time we go there they sting us,” said Beulah Maxie with the Almeda Plaza Civic Club.
Houston City Councilman Larry Green received an offer for help from Claude Griffin of Gotcha Pest Control. His three-man team suited up in protective suits on Wednesday and tore open an outside east-facing wall to reveal a floor-to-ceiling hive of honey bees. A second hive of equal size was found in a north facing wall.
“This is a serious, serious issue that has been neglected for a very, very long time,” said Griffin.
Neighbors, city officials and firefighters who were on standby in case anyone needed medical attention, retreated to their vehicles when the bees began to swarm and attack anyone within a city block of the building. No one was seriously injured, however, as Griffin removed several pounds of honeycomb and vacuumed the bees and their queens into cage containers so they could be safely carted away.
“I’m thrilled the District K council office was able to identify resources and partner with Gotcha Pest Control for the removal of these bees,” said Green in a statement. “Over the years, these bees have detrimentally plagued this area. Our office continually works with District K neighborhoods to identify resources in the community to solve the myriad of complex problems that arise in our District and in this instance it just so happens to involve bees.”
Once the building is considered completely bee-free, the civil club plans to assess the building and decide if it can be restored or if it needs to be torn down to make way for a new structure.
They hope it can become a community focal point again now that the bees are gone.