The UK Telegraph reported today that in some regions of Germany, beehive theft is more prevalent than car or television theft. Over the past year, there has been an 85 percent increase in the theft of beehives. It’s not just happening in Germany.
In Japan hundreds of thousands of bees have been stolen, prompting the Japanese Beekeeper and Honeybee Association to warn its members “to be constantly on their guard against thieves.”
What about here in the United States? Is beehive theft a problem? Western Wisconsin’s KSTP.com reports that just recently, 33 beehives were stolen from the property of beekeeper Dale Wolf. He believes the thieves stole the bees because of the nationwide shortage of bees.
The price of beehives has increased recently from about $50 a hive to $150 a hive. With the decline in the bee population and the rise in price of new hives, theft is becoming more common.
Who are these bee rustlers? It’s likely other beekeepers. Think about it — would you (if you’re not a beekeeper, of course) be able to steal a beehive and not get stung? I wouldn’t.
Bee theft is such a threat in California that the membership in the California State Beekeepers Association automatically includes a $10,000 bee Theft Reward Program.
Some beekeepers are beginning to use GPS tracking devices on their beehives so that stolen hives can be tracked down.