Bees Are Pooping All Over Billerica, and People Are Getting Upset

Uh oh, honey.

Photo via iStock/Florin Tirlea

Photo via iStock/Florin Tirlea

Ah, Billerica: Home of pitching ace Tom Glavine, middle school robotics prodigies, a selectman-turned-vigilante-painter-turned-state-rep-candidate, and loads and loads of bee excrement.

One family says the swarms of bees frequenting the nearby Merrimack Valley Apiaries have dropped so much excrement on their home, the town’s board of health issued a notice of violation, ordering the “public health nuisance” fixed in 10 days, or face fines up to $1,000 a day.

“I just want my house back,” homeowner Serry Gouveia told the Lowell Sun. “I want my land back.”

The Gouveias say they spend hours cleaning the bee poo off their car and home, and “pray” for rain to soften the leavings. A brief walk outside leaves them covered in the stuff, which an expert from Massachusetts Beekeepers Association tells the Sun carries no adverse health effect.

Merrimack Valley Apiaries, meanwhile, is one of the nation’s leading honey producers, generating more than a million pounds of raw honey each year from their 55-acre farm. Third-generation owner Glenn Card said there’s nothing he can do to change the bees’ flight path.

“It’s a natural flight pattern where every day they fly to the best source of food. We don’t tell them where to fly,” he said. “What am I supposed to do? Get rid of the bees and this three-generation business, and stop doing what I do?”

The town’s letter to Merrimack Valley Apiaries suggests planting flowering plants to keep the bees closer to their property. You can read the full story here.