Courthouse to reopen Friday after beetle infestation


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The New Hanover County Courthouse will be crawling with people again tomorrow, after it had been crawling with bugs. That’s the problem that closed the courthouse today. But what was a bed bug scare turned out to be an infestation by a different pest.

“Every now and then, we have to close the courts for a natural disaster, like a hurricane or snow days,” District Attorney Ben David said. “This is a first for us.”

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It wasn’t rain or snow that closed the courthouse Wednesday afternoon and Thursday, but a carpet beetle infestation.

The quick closing came as a surprise to some.

“I would have loved to have gotten a phone call, ‘Hey, we’re closed for whatever reason it is. If you could, we are going to reschedule your court date.’ Something like that, but none of that,” said John Constantatos, who drove all the way from Raleigh for a court date Thursday only to find the courthouse closed.

“As inconvenient as it is for the public, it’s equally inconvenient for the judges, prosecutors and clerks who have to recalendar those matters,” David said.

Wednesday afternoon, a deputy noticed bugs crawling on the courthouse walls. He took one to an exterminator, who said it was a bed bug.

With permission from Raleigh, the courthouse closed immediately.

“A lot of what we do doesn’t require a physical courtroom to be open, so the work is still going on even though the building is closed,” David said.

Exterminators came out first thing Thursday and discovered the creepy-crawlers were actually carpet beetles. Unlike bed bugs, carpet beetles do not bite humans, but they do invade and infest.

Clerk of Courts Jan Kennedy said this is great news, because the treatment for carpet beetles is much cheaper than the treatment for bed bugs.

Court will be back up and running tomorrow just in time for what David says is the busiest day of the week.