200,000 bees killed, 100 hives were topples over, and doused with fuel. It happened on January 13th in coastal Prunedale, California; where the bees were overwintering. Investigators aren’t sure yet, but some speculate that neighborhood individuals, who were unhappy about the hives being overwintered there might be to blame. The case is under investigated, and we may never know for sure who is to blame. This case is currently unsolved. Sadly, the beekeeper – Alfonso Perez- estimates he has lost $50,000 in pollination fees. That $50,000 makes up the bulk of the money he uses to support his family for the year.
I read about it on the 15th, and haven’t been able to get it out of my head.
How could somebody do that? Why would they even want to? And is this just a one off? Or is it part of a bigger, scarier trend? I can not even begin to answer the first two question. As to the third question, it turns out that this incident just might be one of a growing number of beehive vandalism cases.
This is the third instance of large-scale vandalism of beehives in the US In the last 14 months. In November 2016, 20 hives in Sequim, WA were poisoned, killing 300,000 bees. Buddy and Meg Depew of Sequim Bee Farm have worked to replace their lost hives. They estimate a loss of $5,000 from their honey business, plus the cost of replacing the destroyed hives.
In November 2017, 50 hives were vandalized in Sioux City IA, killing over 500,000 bees. These hives were owned by Justin and Tori Engelhardt of Wild Hill Honey. A twelve and thirteen year old were recently arrested and charged with 3 felony counts. The owners estimate a loss of over $50,000 to $60,000. In this case, the community has rallied, and has collect tens of thousands of dollars, which will be used to rebuild the business.
BTW, some of you might be wondering what the big deal is.
It’s just a few bees. Right?
It’s a really big deal.
When you destroy a hive you do a lot of damage. You kill tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of bees that pollinate the plants all around us. This seems foolish, especially if you think about how the bees are in decline. But ontop of that, If the hives are owned by a person, you have just destroyed not only somebody’s property, but also a source of income that can be substantial, since bee owners sell pollination services and/or collect honey for sale.
With only 3 publicized cases in the last 14 months, It’s unclear if a trend is there or not. Have any of you out there encountered any cases of beehive vandalism? If so; contact us, we’d like to hear from you.
To learn more of the Prunedale case click here-> Article
If you would like to help Alfonso Perez, visit the GoFundMe page set up for him.