Allen and Annette Clausen never thought about another interpretation of the phrase "home sweet home" until they found a 300-pound beehive in a wall of their new house oozing with honey.

"It's a nightmare, this honey," Allen Clausen said this week, surveying the two-story home that had been vacant for two years before he bought it from the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.Honey was dripping down the walls and spilling onto floors. Hundreds of bees killed by fumigators last month were under the kitchen stove and behind fireplace tile. Some live ones have returned.

"This has been the worst thing of its kind that we have run up against," said Bruce Manning, vice president of Land Ho, the company that managed the property for the Veterans Department.

The Clausens bought the three-bedroom house last month for $78,500. They had planned to put in new carpets, tile and baseboards before moving in.

Since no one realized the extent of the problem, those plans are on hold.

Thousands of bees built the 6-foot, 300-pound hive between the back of the fireplace and an outside wall. Another colony built a hive in a kitchen wall and has spread between the kitchen ceiling and a bedroom floor. Fifty pounds of honeycomb were found above a ceiling panel.

A pest control company killed the bees before the Clausens completed the purchase, Manning said. But no one realized the extent of the hives or that other bees might move in.

Annette Clausen complained that Veterans Affairs, Land Ho and the pest control company seem to be avoiding responsibility for the problem.

Manning disputed that, saying they had done everything possible to help the couple.

"They're going to be happy when it gets done," he said.