Where there is a shortage, there is crime. Isn’t that always the way? In the wake of the latest colony collapse disorder that is haunting beekeepers and getting entomology departments grants left and right has a new effect–the rise in bee colony theft. From the San Francisco Chronicle:
“As the price of pollination soars, each hive becomes a sitting gold mine, sheriff’s deputies say. Skilled criminals simply dump the colony into a new container, and rent the bees to farmers as their own, pocketing the fee they’re paid for pollination.”
“Just from the buzz that’s out there, our detectives are thinking hive thefts are increasing,” said Bill Yoshimoto, project director for the Central Valley-based Agricultural Crime Technology Information and Operations Network. “If there’s even a further shortage because of bee thefts, that’s a problem for everyone.”
According to the article, rental fees for bee hives, which farmers use to polinate acres of stone fruit crops for maximal fruit set, have risen from $55 per have a few years ago to $200 per hive currently. Who knew people would pick up on the profit margin here? It takes a brave criminal to grab a fully buzzin’ beehive. I don’t know about you, but most of the people I know still panic when an innocent worker bee visits a picnic. These guys must have balls of steel.