The world will probably never be short of criminal elements. There are plenty of petty criminals who believe that robbing gas stations is their highest ambition in life. There are also more sophisticated criminals that intricately plan heists that net them massive amounts of ill-earned money. Large scale heists typically occur within banks or jewelry stores, at least that is what the movies say. You never hear about criminals that carefully plan apiary robberies…until now, that is. It would probably come as a shock to most people to learn that beehive robberies within apiaries are becoming alarmingly common all over the world. One recent incident saw a well established beekeeper robbed of his collection of fifty million honey bees.
A beekeeper from California, Loyd Cunniff, runs an apiary that both his father and grandfather owned before him. Cunniff was born into the beekeeping trade, but he never expected to be robbed of his entire honey bee collection. One morning, Cunniff awoke to find every one of his seven hundred beehives missing from his apiary. The beehives contained fifty million bees in total, making it the largest honey bee heist in history. According to fellow beekeeper, Phil Strachan, beehives are rarely stolen, but when they are, the culprits are normally drunks who get away with no more than a few hives. However, the heist that occured on Cunniff’s property required extensive planning, and the thieves ended up getting away with over a million dollars worth of honey bees. Strangely, Strachan noted that two other large scale honey bee robberies occured in nearby regions during the past two years. Although it may be hard to believe, but these honey bee robberies are increasing in frequency and sophistication in many parts of the globe. For example, in New Zealand apiary heists are considered epidemic. In this country, the thieves are after Manuka honey, which is a prized form of honey that goes for one hundred and fifty dollars per kilogram. A ten thousand dollar reward is being offered to anyone who can assist in apprehending the thieves who stole Cunniff’s honey bees. Also, three counties in California along with the FBI are searching for the perpetrators.
Since bees can become aggressive when their hives are mishandled, do you believe that the beehive thieves knew how to remove the hives properly due to past training in beekeeping?