Partially Africanized Bees Found in East Tennessee
should be vigilant but not alarmed
Tennessee’s first case of partially Africanized bees was confirmed
through genetic testing last week in a colony belonging to a
beekeeper in Monroe County. The colony has been depopulated and the
Tennessee Department of Agriculture is working with beekeepers in
the area to determine if other bees could have been affected.
State Apiarist, Mike Studer, says it is no surprise that partially
Africanized bees have made their way to Tennessee considering they
have already been found in other states such as Texas, Georgia,
Mississippi and Florida. “I’m actually surprised it’s just now
happening. We have been expecting this for some time,” Studer said.
“Citizens need to be vigilant, but there’s no need to overreact.
This is a situation that can be effectively managed through good
“We will be working with beekeepers to monitor their hives and to
look for any signs of other aggressive bees in the area.”
Test results show that genetically, the bees were less than 17
percent Africanized, far less than the 50 percent considered by USDA
to be truly Africanized. The bee colony was purchased by the
beekeeper last year from an out-of-state dealer.
The most important difference between an Africanized honey bee and
our domestic European honeybee is their behavior. Africanized bees
are much more aggressive, defend their nests more fiercely and in
greater numbers and are more likely to defend the nest when
threatened by predators or adverse environmental conditions. But,
the sting from a single Africanized bee is no more venomous than a
European honey bee.
Africanized bees tend to colonize in smaller spaces than the docile
European honeybee. Therefore, if you see honeybees in the ground, or
in small openings such as flower pots or bluebird houses leave them
alone and call the state apiarist immediately to assess the
situation. Bees do not try to hurt people, they simply defend their
If you do disturb an Africanized honeybee colony, follow these
steps to protect yourself.
2. Cover your head with your shirt or jacket while running because
Africanized bees tend to sting the face and head.
3. Never stand still or get boxed into a place outdoors where you
cannot escape the attack.
4. Seek immediate shelter in an enclosed building or vehicle.
Isolate yourself from the bees.
5. Do not attempt to rescue a victim without the proper protective
gear and training. Doing so could make you the second victim.
State law requires all beekeepers register their colonies with the
TDA and to update their registration every three years. Once
registered, the state apiarist is able to contact beekeepers in the
event of a disease outbreak or aerial pesticide spraying in their
area. Registration also gives the beekeepers the opportunity for
free inspections to make sure their colonies are healthy.
Registration can be done online.
For more information on TDA’s Apiary Section or to register a bee
Residents Paying Price for Mild Winter
Allergy Season Extended
Many Jefferson County residents are paying the price for a mild
Winter, in the form of an extended allergy season. Pollen counts
have registered high or extremely high since early March and the
abundance of pollen has local allergy sufferers reaching for the
tissue and over the counter medications. Other weather events,
besides the mild Winter, are contributors to the allergy season.
Pollen counts rise on windy days and rain only bring relief from
tree pollen if it is a strong downpour and lasts more than a few
minutes. Though extended rain can bring some tree pollen relief, it
increases the mold count during the warm months. Allergy symptoms
are commonplace in East Tennessee and, in fact, Knoxville was named
one of the worst locations for those with allergy and asthma
problems. The situation is exacerbated by the sometimes poor local
air quality. Around 40 million Americans suffer from seasonal
allergies. It is the leading chronic condition among children and
accounts for more than 8 million out patient physician’s visits in
the Spring and Fall. The annual cost of allergies
Memorial Foundation - County Commission Work Session
Key points of
negotiation - obligation for public and open meetings, as well
as conflicts of interest.
The Jefferson County Commission held their
Regular Quarterly Work Session on April 9, 2012 at the Historic
Jefferson Count Courthouse. The Meeting was Called to Order by
Commission Chairman Mills. Absent from Roll Call were
Commissioners Baxley, Patterson, Cureton, Griffith, Barriero and
One Citizen addressed the Commission regarding the residence of
a Commissioner and the Commission’s recent vote on the
renovation of Jefferson County High School.
Commissioner Scarlett addressed comments reported in the local
media and questions regarding the motivation of his inquiries
during the most recent voting meeting of the body. Scarlett
stated that he had requested access to information that he
considered pertinent about aspects of the proposal for the
renovation to Jefferson County High School and had not received
it before the voting meeting, thus his concerns were expressed
preceding the vote.
Jefferson County Facilities Director Longmire informed the
Commission that the Humane Society had received a grant to build
on the current site, which is leased, and the County Attorney
will make appropriate adjustments to the lease. It will be
presented to the Commission.
It was reported that the County Finance Committee meeting had
been rescheduled. Neither the Budget Committee, nor the
Facilities Committee, had convened since the last meeting.
Public Service Committee Chairman Tucker reported that the
Committee is in the process of looking into a “Dirty Lot”
ordinance that would address the most pressing issues in the
Under Items for Information, Commissioner Dockery stated that
Parrott’s Chapel Fire Department had recently had nine members
complete training, making a total of 11 certified members of the
department. He said that they will host a graduation ceremony
and fundraiser on April 28th and invited the Commission and
public to attend.
Commissioner Beeler inquired as to the state of the Jefferson
Memorial Foundation funds. County Attorney Churchwell stated
that negotiations were ongoing with Jefferson City, who is a
partner with the County in the Foundation, to establish a
Charter. Key points of negotiation have been the status of the
Foundation in regard to its obligation for public and open
meetings, as well as conflicts of interest. Director of
Jefferson County Finance Helton stated that it had been
difficult to get information about the funds that are associated
with the foundation because it is not, yet, in the name of the
County or the City. St. Mary’s is still the owner of the account
and will be until a charter is agreed upon by the County and
Jefferson City. Information will not be available until the
account has been transferred.
Commissioner Estes presented the Commission with a Resolution
for funding the remaining $5 million Dollars needed to complete
funding for the Jefferson County High School renovation. The
Resolution included earmarking $2.8 million from the Hospital
Reserve Fund, $1,010,000 from the General Purpose School Fund
and $1,190,000 from the General Debt Service Fund. Four options
were presented to the Commission from the Finance Department for
the financing of the bond amount of $20,145,000 for the
renovation, both in combination with the E-911 combination
facility and the renovation as a stand alone project. The
Meeting was Adjourned.