Thieves get stuck into honey pots
Nearly $40k in hives and honey stolen
A STOKERS Siding beekeeper is feeling stung after an unknown thief stole and poisoned thousands of dollars worth of honey-filled hives.
Jim Stewart, who runs Jim’s Busy Bee Honey, moved 50 of his hives to a friend’s property at Glen Innes and Tenterfield where there was better pollen and less rain.
But when he returned just two weeks later, he discovered 37 of his hives had been stolen and a further 15 had been poisoned.
“I went out there and most of them were gone,” he said.
“I had a good look around and couldn’t believe it. A bunch of the bees out the front of the poisoned hives were all dead.”
Mr Stewart said he had no idea who stole the hives but believes it must have been someone in the industry.
“I don’t know whether they had a grudge against the owner of the land. As far as I know I’ve got no grudges against anyone,” he said.
“It definitely has to be someone in the industry, no one else would be able to do it. You’d need a smoker and only a beekeeper could do that.
“They would have needed a loader connected to a vehicle that can lift up to 125kg. Some of the hives would have been about 100kg.”
And the theft has been very costly for the honey producer.
Mr Stewart, who sells most of his honey at farmers’ markets, said he lost about $10,000 worth of honey and it would cost nearly $40,000 to replace the stolen hives. “Those hives would have been producing honey for me for about 10 or so years if I looked after them properly, now I’m going to be down at least $35,000 just to replace them,” he said. Mr Stewart said he had increased his number of hives from 80 to 220 in the past few months.
“It was a lot of work I put in and a lot of money spent, so it was a pretty good kick in the old guts,” he said.
“The 37 hives were full of honey and I was looking forward to getting them home and extracting it.”
Mr Stewart said the thieves who stole the hives had most likely already extracted the honey and hidden the hives.
He said he had notified Tenterfield police and they were investigating the incident.
GUTTED: Stokers Siding beekeeper Jim Stewart had 37 hives stolen, costing him nearly $40,000.