Thieves get stuck into honey pots

Nearly $40k in hives and honey stolen

Tweed Daily News - - FRONT PAGE - Rick Koenig rick.koenig@tweed­dai­lynews.com.au

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.

PHOTO: SCOTT POWICK

GUT­TED: Stok­ers Sid­ing bee­keeper Jim Stew­art had 37 hives stolen, cost­ing him nearly $40,000.

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