Hun­dreds of hives stolen

South Waikato News - - What’s On - NI­COLE LAW­TON

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.

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