Bees have it tough enough facing the challenges of Colony Collapse Disorder, but bees in Michigan have even more misfortune to endure. Falling in a hazy realm somewhere between vandalism and animal abuse, someone doused a Detroit man’s backyard bee colonies with pesticide, killing all 700,000 of the bees and destroying their honey.

Timothy Fitch told Sterling Heights police on Tuesday that the massive killing occurred sometime between Jan. 15 and March 8. The bee colonies are able to survive year-round, even during the frigid temperatures of Detroit’s winter, Fitch told The Macomb Daily. He valued his loss at more than $14,000 in materials alone since the wooden colony towers are now contaminated with pesticide and are no longer serviceable.

The Grosse Pointe Middle School teacher said that he spent years researching honey bees and beekeeping, in search of an enjoyable hobby. Fitch, who lives with his family in the home where the crime occurred, understandably felt sick to his stomach upon discovering the heartbreaking act.

“They didn’t bother anybody,” Fitch said. “The neighbors had no problem with them and grandkids, my kids, everybody played in the backyard and the bees didn’t bother anyone.”

Sterling Heights Lt. Luke Riley said police are actively investigating the case, and they’re seeking tips from the public.

Related bee stories on MNN: