Suddenly, the theft of bees has become a very real problem for beekeepers here in the United States. The raw honey craze here in the states has the undesirables trying to take a short cut to a new business by stealing other people’s hives.
The latest theft occurred in Lula, GA. It would appear the thieves knew exactly what they were doing and hit a local business owner hard. In all, Don Kuchenmeister says they were able to get away with about $20,000 in beehives. Sadly, they took the bees that were ready to be turned over and sold by the business owner, leading him to believe they had some knowledge and specifically targeted those hives.
What works to the thieves benefit is something that hurts business owners in this niche. Since hives don’t have serial numbers or any tracking devices, there is really nothing they can do about it once they are gone. The thief can sell them off or rent them to farmers on his own and nobody is the wiser.
Something that makes this particular theft a little sadder is the fact that Kuchenmeister also runs a bee school. He uses it to train veterans that are suffering from excessive stress. The hobby seems to work well, and he says it helps them to relax.
Even after losing $20,000 in inventory, Kuchenmeister was able to keep his humor about him. He said the theft stung, but not as much as it would have hurt the people committing the crime had he caught them. “I’d coat them in honey, kick a bunch of hives over, and have fun,” Kuchenmeister stated.
It is good to see the owner take this one on the chin with grace, but we can’t help but think something must be done to help these hive owners protect their investment. As this theft proves, we are not talking about nickels and dimes here. This particular bee owners will probably be working for free for the next several months to recover the cost of the stolen hives.
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Photo via Fox 5 Video