What’s up with the recent trend of people destroying honeybees? Talk about a ‘senseless’ crime.
Why would anyone want to kill 200,000 honeybees by dousing them with diesel fuel?
It seems in Prunedale, California, around 100 beehives containing Italian and Russian honeybees were toppled over, and the bees exterminated with diesel fuel between 10:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Saturday, KSBW reported.
Property owner Mike Hickenbottom suspects it was his neighbors’ doing, as they had previously complained about the bees.
Evidently, Hickenbottom said his neighbors told him their children were scared to go outside because the bees were flying around.
However, Hickenbottom noted, that the bees were never aggressive, telling the news station: “I go up around the bee boxes without any protective clothing on. I’ve never been stung.”
The bees were owned and maintained by beekeeper Alfonso Perez. Hickenbottom leases the property during the winter, and Perez leases the beehives to pollinate almond trees throughout California.
“Somebody came here, and tipped over all the boxes, and sprayed them with diesel fuel,” Perez told KSBW. “It killed a whole bunch of bees.”
The bees’ deaths will reportedly cost Perez more than $50,000 — which is his entire annual income, Hickenbottom claimed on a GoFundMe page he set up to help the beekeeper.
In addition to the crime against the bees in California, additional crimes were also committed against bees in Sioux Falls, Iowa. There vandals destroyed dozens of beehives and threatened the future of honey business in Iowa.
A few days after Christmas, Justin and Tori Englehardt discovered someone had destroyed every beehive on their Wild Hill Honey farm, the Des Moines Register reports. According to the BBC, the destruction of the 50 hives in Sioux City, Iowa, caused 500,000 bees to freeze to death. The Englehardts called the vandalism “completely senseless.”
According to a Facebook post, the owners of Wild Hill Honey said they discovered that 50 beehives were destroyed when they went to clear off the snow.
“I knew it was going to be bad, we went around the shed every hive was knocked over,” Justin Engelhardt, owner of Wild Hill Honey told CBS affiliate KMEG. “Dead bees in the snow, it was terrible.”
The reported damage of the beehives and equipment was estimated to be worth upwards of $60,000. Engelhardt and his wife feared the vandals would cost them their business.
“It wipes us out, you can’t insure beehives,” Engelhardt said. “There’s no insurance involved.”
Members of the community came together donating to the company’s GoFundMe campaign, raising more than $30,000 in 24 hours. Thankfully, with those donations, the company can continue business at least until the spring.
The company took to Facebook once again to express their gratitude.
“Because of you, we will be able to continue our business in the spring. We are deeply moved by your compassion,” the post said. “Between the contributions and the equipment we were able to salvage, our needs have been met. There are so many great causes to support. Our wish is that this spirit of compassion will be used to help others now.”
On Wednesday, Sioux City Police arrested two boys—age 12 and 13—in connection with the crime. The boys, who were found through tips from the public. The two morons have been charged with three felonies—criminal mischief, agricultural animal facilities offenses, and burglary—as well as misdemeanor possession of burglar’s tools.
“It was amazing, and we are deeply grateful for all of the contributions,” Justin Engelhardt says. Justin has a thought about why the death of their 500,000 bees struck a chord with donors:
“Bees are critical and people are conscious of the fact that bees are having a hard time right now and facing some real challenges.”
Resources: Yahoo News, WAFB.com