Swarm of bees leaves Kent family feeling trapped in their home

ITV Meridian's Sarah Saunders went to meet the families affected.

A family has spoken of their torment and fear after a swarm of bees moved into the roof of their home.

Charlotte Down, who lives in Canterbury in a council owned property, says she and her family have been trapped indoors unable to use their garden due to the insects.

Last year her daughter, Elsie, was stung so severely she had an allergic reaction that required hospital treatment.

The bees first arrived 5-6 years ago, and despite reporting it to the council multiple times, they have never been removed.

Earlier this year the council did send a team to inspect the situation, but Charlotte was told the quote was too expensive.

A second bee removal expert was sent out, but again nothing happened.

Charlotte told ITV Meridian that there can be several thousand insects swarming at any one time, making it impossible to even open the windows as they fly in and get trapped.

"There can be a few or there can be thousands." She said. "It all depends on the weather really.

"On a nice day like today they can be everywhere... walking around on the ground, we can't open the windows as they are inside the property.

"The children can't come out and play."

Watch: Charlotte Down tells ITV Meridian about the problems the bees cause.

The bee problem increased considerably last year, which is when her 3 year old daughter Elsie required hospital treatment.

She had stepped out the back door into the garden and was stung on her foot.

Charlotte says her daughter was screaming "within minutes" and holding her throat which had swollen up.

"She stepped out the back door and got stung on her toe.

"Within minutes she was screaming, holding her throat because her throat swelled up.

"A rash formed. And you panic."

Despite this, the bees remained in the roof space.

Fellow resident Emma Dechamps is in a similar situation. The insects fly into her flat and get trapped, meaning she often finds them on the floor where they have died.

She worries that her children will stand on them and get stung as they walk around with bare feet.

"They can go into the communal areas and get into our flats because the windows are open.

"We find lots of dead ones on the floor - and my children sometimes don't wear shoes.

"We're a little bit scared to go into the garden."

Watch: Resident Emma Dechamps speaks to ITV Meridian.

ITV Meridian put Charlotte and Emma's concerns to the council who said in a statement:

"The removal of bees would usually be a matter for a tenant to resolve, but this is clearly an exceptional case.

"We have been assessing the best way to remove the bees in a humane way, and can confirm this work is booked in for tomorrow (Friday 17 June). Scaffolding will be put up and a specialist pest control contractor will be used to remove them.

"We accept that Miss Down has not had a satisfactory response from us in the past on this issue and apologise for this. We are looking into what has gone wrong, so we can make sure it doesn't happen again.

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