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10-million bees can make quite the mess

The arrival of 10-million honey bees _ and their droppings _ in western Boca Raton has neighbors angry.

The 270 hives, each home to about 40,000 honey bees, were moved in a month ago. And in their wake, the bees have left gooey, yellow droppings all over cars, pavement and houses.

"It's just like it's raining mustard," homeowner Phil Traverso said Monday.

The sticky splotches are difficult to get off, residents said, especially after the residue has been baked on in the sun. Traverso's home was painted a year ago, and now "it looks like a speckled trout," he said.

Lamar Hester, the beekeeper for DeLand-based Horace Bell Honey farms, which owns the hives, is less than sympathetic.

"Tell them to wash it off," he said.

The bees are expected to be moved soon, but not far. They were accidentally placed on a 21-acre chunk of land owned by Florida Atlantic University, instead of a neighboring Thomas Farms plot.

The bees are brought to the area in the fall to feast on Brazilian peppers. The peppers don't produce good honey, but the plants are the only thing blooming this time of year.

But development has made keeping bees more difficult, Hester noted.

"As people move in, it's getting harder and harder to find places for them," he said.

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