Buzzing Eviction

Published 7:15 pm Thursday, March 25, 2010

It’s been a trend of late in downtown Brookhaven to buildupstairs apartments, but one large family has lived above theBrookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce for what some saycould be as long as 80 years.

They have definitely lived in downtown Brookhaven more than manyof the current residents, and they finally moved out onWednesday.

But the bees that were living in a honeycomb that by moststandards could qualify as historic on the southeast corner of theBrookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce have found a betterhome. They even have some new neighbors with whom they have a lotmore in common.

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“Those honeybees have resided in the upper corner of the oldCity Hall as long as anyone can remember,” said Chamber ExecutiveVice President Cliff Brumfield. “It’s said they’ve been here sinceas far back as the 30s, and in the spring and summer you can seethem swarm because they become more active during growingseason.”

Beekeeper Marvin Jolley said he’s certain the chamber bees havebeen there at least as long as he has.

“I came here in 1973 and I know they were there then,” hesaid.

But on Wednesday, Jolley and Mark Van Slyke went up in a buckettruck and evicted the bees out of their longtime digs.

As they stuck suction tubes into the hive, bees swarmed aroundtheir heads. The men, both wearing plenty of protective gear, wereunfazed.

“You’ve got a vacuum and a box, and you just vacuum them intothe box,” said Jolley, who took the bees back to his home inLakewood Village where he has a community of bees.

“Bees grow wild and you put them in a box where you can take thehoney out,” he said, adding that it might be a better neighborhoodfor them since the comb they were leaving has been there for years.”It had just turned black. It looked like dirt.”

In the meantime, chamber officials said even though the beeswere something of a fixture, they will be happy to see them find anew home.

“As much as they have definitely become inhabitants of thechamber over the years, it’s nice to see them relocate to a moreappropriate housing,” said Brumfield.