Surge in the numbers of bee hives being stolen

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Surge in the numbers of bee hives being stolen

Post by Guest on Fri Apr 22, 2011 11:08 am

Beekeeping enthusiasts stung by thieves as hives in Kent are stolen to order

BEEKEEPERS are being stung by thieves who steal hives to order and sell them to unsuspecting first-time bee enthusiasts, it has emerged.

Dozens of hives across the area have been snatched and bees put at risk as thieves try to cash in on the rising cost of the hobby.

In a recent botched attempt, thousands of bees suffocated and died when hives which had been taped up, ready to steal, were left behind on the side of a road in Well Hill.

Peter Hutton, a member of the Kent Beekeepers' Association Sevenoaks and Tunbridge Wells branch, said: "The cost of beekeeping is going up and up but there are less and less colonies. Two years ago you would get a second-hand hive and whole swarm for around £200.

"But now the cost of buying a nucleus swarm a third of the size and all the equipment you need comes to around £650. There is also a lot more demand for hives because beekeeping is more popular."

Between 9.30am and 1.20pm on March 26, three beehives were taken from Beesfield Lane in Farningham, although they were later found close by.

In Crockenhill between March 26 and April 2, nine wooden beehives in a field off Daltons Road were taken. Police are checking forensic evidence. Further afield in Rabbits Road, South Darenth, four beehives were also reported missing.

Mr Hutton added: "I think it must be a beekeeper who is behind the thefts because it is not the sort of thing you can steal if you don't know what you are doing. They are probably being sold to first-time buyers who are buying them in good faith."

Police have paid a visit to the club to warn of the problem and a statement has been released on the Sevenoaks branch website, saying: "Last week one of our members had 12 strong colonies stolen from two different apiaries in the Crockenhill/Well Hill area. All the frames had a month and year written in red felt tip on the top bar. All members are asked to be alert to any possible selling on of these colonies, or unusual offers of used Langstroth hives."

and there's more...

Somerset bee keeper left shocked as thieves take hives

A beekeeper has been left counting the cost after thieves stole thousands of bees from his hives in a field near Clandown.

Alan Weaver, from Paulton, was so shocked to discover the theft he has offered a reward for information that will lead to his colonies being recovered.

He is also warning other beekeepers to be on their guard after the incident.

Mr Weaver discovered that thieves had struck at the remote location when he went to check on the colonies and discovered the hives and other equipment had been taken.

At this time of year when bees are becoming more active each colony can swell to upwards of 40,000 honey bees from the over wintering number of a few thousand.

He said: "It gave me quite a shock when I saw the hives gone. It must have been someone who must have known what they were doing to take hives with live bees in them."

He is now keeping a close eye on his remaining hives that are kept at other locations in the Midsomer Norton area.

The stolen hives were kept in a field and Mr Weaver said that gates which were kept bolted had been undone and tracks led across the field to where the hives had been standing.

He said: "It is a remote location and when I tend the bees there are very few people around and very few cars.

"I think whoever took them must have either been beekeepers or looking to start up. It is getting more expensive to buy bees and the equipment."

The interest is becoming more popular with more and more people starting to keep the creatures as a hobby.

Mr Weaver, who is secretary of the Mendip Branch, and has kept said that courses offered by the Somerset Beekeeping Association were all booked up.

Mr Weaver said that each hive could produce between 60 and 100lb of honey each year which could retail at up to £4 a pound.

He said: "I think it is the flora that makes Somerset honey so special. Somerset honey in its natural form is good for hayfever sufferers.

"Whoever took them knew what they were doing and probably waited until dusk when the bees are not active before they took them."

Anyone who has information that could lead to the recovery of Mr Weaver's bees and hives should call Radstock Police Station on 0845 4567000.

and again...

Essex beehive thieves described as 'despicable'

The three beehives were stolen from Stanford Rivers in Essex

Thieves who stole three hand-made wooden beehives from a pensioner have been labelled "despicable" by police.

The hives, which housed three bee colonies, were stolen from Stanford Rivers, Essex, between 26 and 30 March.

Pc Martin Carroll, of Essex Police, said: "The hives are hand-built and are unique.

"This is a despicable crime and whoever is responsible has taken the enjoyment of a retired owner who has tended these bees for the past 40 years."


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