Honeycomb House: A Fresh Foreclosure Horror

Problems with empty, foreclosed, or otherwise house-poor homes no longer stop at suburban sprawl; now mosquito and wildcat infestations threaten to lower real estate values for your penny on the block. When folks who gambled past their means to stretch a mortgage to its limit can’t afford to maintain their houses, the infrastructure starts to crumble.

Check out this video of a bee-infested house where the walls are now completely filled with honeycomb.

Here’s honey dripping down from the hole in the wall for the electrical socket:

(Photo from KSBW, via BLDGBLOG)

If you’re thinking an apiary home might come with sweet side benefits, consider the tree house of horror that would be  a West Nile Virus-filled mosquito breeding ground of a swimming pool. Or an abandoned house filled with bobcats.

That’s exactly what happened in the last mortgage crisis of 2008. Southern California suffered a series of abandoned swimming pools becoming homes to thousands of mosquitoes and their disease-breeding larvae:

[N]eglected pools are breeding grounds for mosquitoes, which can carry diseases like West Nile virus. This at a time when the economic downturn has left local governments with less money to fight this potentially deadly foe, and legal obstacles posed by foreclosures and bank failures can slow what efforts are being made.

“We’re seeing a sharp spike in abandoned pools and the mosquito problems that are attendant to it. I haven’t seen it to any extent approaching this [previously],” said Joseph Conlon, technical adviser for the American Mosquito Control Association in Jacksonville. “In the past, we’ve had people abandon their home or go on vacation. It was just a case of bad neighbors. In this case, it’s driven economically.”

Or imagine calling animal patrol to report a “baby mountain lion” living in the house next door, only to discover that a family of bobcats has taken over the abandoned house.

Banks are doing the best they can to keep up with the problem. But banks are not real estate brokers; they cannot hold hundreds upon thousands of foreclosed, abandoned homes.

Allowing people to live in these homes doesn’t do them any favors, as they squat and wait out the bank (or the next market dip) without caring for their homes. But perhaps there’s some value to warm bodies keeping mirrors fogged around the house, rather than letting the state of nature creep back in.

Agree or disagree with lending practices, do watch the video clip; it’s fascinating to see the wild side creep back in around the cracks of civilization, and man battling beast like we’re in some kind of  Garcia Marquez novel!