Hundreds of hives stolen
Thieves have made off with $500,000-worth of beehives from a pine forest in Northland.
A public notice on Friday said 200 honey bee colonies - equating to 1 million bees - were stolen from the Topuni Forest, 10 Kilometres north of Wellsford some time in the week leading up to July 16.
The bee colonies were the property of Watson & Son Limited, who were offering a $20,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of whoever is responsible for the theft and the successful recovery of the hives.
Apiculture New Zealand, formerly the Beekeepers Association of New Zealand, said beehive theft was happening with increasing regularity.
Its chief executive, Daniel Paul said: ’’As an organisation, APINZ wants to work with Police to address this problem, and find out what solutions we can put in place.’’
Paul said a theft of this latest size wouldn’t have been an easy feat.
‘‘You’re going to need to know what you’re doing, you’re going to have to have some sort of experience of bees to start. You would need protective gear and probably a closed in truck.
Paul said one hive can produce about 40kgs of honey a year, so that could equate to a half a million dollar loss for Watson & Son.
The thieves probably knew what they were doing when they stole 200 colonies of bees in the last fortnight.