California is hit by a wave of BEE thefts
Farmers offer $10,000 reward to find raiders who used a fork-lift truck to steal nearly 200 hives
- Two beekeepers in California’s Central Valley had nearly 100 hives stolen each
- The bees are currently in demand as they are needed for almond pollination
- Detectives believe a struggling rival beekeeper could be to blame for the thefts
California beekeepers are offering a $10,000 reward to find thieves who used a fork-lift truck to steal almost 200 beehives.
Two apiarists in Visalia, in California’s Central Valley, reported the honey-producing insects missing two weeks ago.
There is already a shortage of bees for almond pollination.
California firms Gunter Honey and SP Godlin Apiaries both reported 96 hives stolen on February 10 and 11 respectively.
Detectives believe a rival beekeeper who would ‘know what they are doing’ and have the right equipment may have been behind the thefts.
One of the beekeepers, Steve Godlin, said 100 beehives could be worth as much as $40,000.
A spate of thefts has already seen a man and woman arrested in California earlier this year for alleged felony possession of stolen property.
The California Farm Bureau Federation said on its Facebook page: ‘With almond bloom progressing in the Central Valley, beekeepers have placed colonies in orchards to pollinate the crop.
‘But demand for bees may be close to outstripping supply—and that has contributed to thefts of bee colonies.
‘Beekeepers in both the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys have reported losing
Speaking to industry paper Ag Alert, Butte County sheriff’s deputy Rowdy Freeman said a rival apiarist might be to blame for the large-scale thefts.
‘They know what they are doing. They have beekeeping equipment,’ he said.
‘They know how to go in and take them and have the means to do it. It could be a beekeeper who lost a lot of hives and can’t fulfil his contract.’
‘Desperation leads to theft, so they will steal the hives from someone.’
Telling the public what to look out for, he said: ‘There’s a lot of bees going into the orchards for pollination and this is the time of the year that you’ll see an increase in hive thefts in California.
‘There’s already been several reports throughout the state of California regarding hives being stolen which is becoming a big problem.
‘At this time of year bees are generally going into the orchards – you shouldn’t see people loading bees inside the orchards and removing them right now.
‘That happened down in the valley where thieves entered the orchards and removed hives from the orchards that they were already placed in for pollination.’
Curated from: Mail Online