Infestation of bees closes jury room in Loudon courthouse
Hugh G. Willett knoxnews.com
LOUDON — The sign posted on the door to the second floor jury room in the historic Loudon County Courthouse reads," DANGER— DO NOT OPEN DOOR. There are BEES in this Room!"
The room has been closed due to an infestation of honeybees discovered Thursday in the ceilings and floor, according to County Mayor Buddy Bradshaw.
The courthouse is listed on the National Park Service Register of Historic Places.
Friday morning hundreds of bees could be seen swarming around the light fixtures. Dead bees were scattered across the floor and the furniture.
The county maintenance office called a pest control contractor and was told it was best to call an expert, according to Brian Brown, facilities maintenance manager.
"It's being dealt with," Brown said.
The beekeeper that looked at the situation said most of the bees were dead or dying and didn't seem to be a part of an active swarm.
Local beekeepers agree it's best to have an expert remove bees alive.
"Bees are beneficial pests," said Loudon beekeeper Robert Hickman.
Hickman said that this time of year is when bees often move around as they seek to divide the hive.
"This is swarm season," he said.
He said poisoning the hive often does not work and can lead to more problems with pests such as mice.
After locating the hive either visually, with a thermal detector or by listening for the sound, he uses a specialized vacuum cleaner to remove the bees.
Hickman said the most difficult part of the removal can be the repair of the structure after walls, ceilings and floors have been opened up to find the hive.
Brown said the county has dealt with this problem in other buildings such as the Technical Center on Harrison Road The jury room should be ready for use next week, he said.