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$170K in Stolen Bees Recovered in 'Sting'

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jnelsoninjax    12,566

 (Newser) – A Montana beekeeper has recovered hives that were stolen from him in California, thanks to what the AP is calling an agricultural "sting" operation. Lloyd Cunniff of Choteau reported 488 hives stolen in January, after he had transported them to California for the almond pollination season. A tip led Fresno County authorities to find stolen hives worth $170,000 in a rented bee nursery space, a cow pasture, and hidden in a drainage along a freeway.

Fresno County Detective Anders Solis, a member of the county's agriculture crimes task force, says there were 10 victims in seven California counties in all. Bee theft is "kind of new to us, too. This has been going on for about three years," he says. Cunniff got most of his bees back last Sunday, reports the Great Falls Tribune. He says he is keeping the recovered hives in a separate field in case they are infected with disease or mites. (Yes, stealing thousands of dollars worth of bees is apparently a thing.)

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Jim K    14,176

So ... $170K in bees from 488 hives ... $348 per hive ... in case anyone wants to start their own beesiness.  I'm sure the owner is happy that he got his hives back ... though they need to catch the desbeecable thieves before they buzz off with more hives.

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T3X4S    4,532
1 minute ago, Jim K said:

So ... $170K in bees from 488 hives ... $348 per hive ... in case anyone wants to start their own beesiness.  I'm sure the owner is happy that he got his hives back ... though they need to catch the desbeecable thieves before they buzz off with more hives.

I bee what your did there.

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jnelsoninjax    12,566

OK you 2, have a bee-r! :D:beer:

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Jim K    14,176

...but seriously ... how do you steal 488 hives?  I can see a few dozen ... but 488?  What do you do with them afterwards?  Granted, my knowledge in this area is lacking ... but still.  I would put this right up there with the bridge that got stolen about 5 years ago in New Castle, PA.  

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+warwagon    13,400

 

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DocM    16,676
11 hours ago, Jim K said:

...but seriously ... how do you steal 488 hives?  I can see a few dozen ... but 488?  What do you do with them afterwards?  Granted, my knowledge in this area is lacking ... but still.  I would put this right up there with the bridge that got stolen about 5 years ago in New Castle, PA.  

You sell or lease them!!  

 

Farmers etc. pay damn good money to buy or host pollinators for use on their properties, and there's a thriving mail order business which sells colonies to private beekeepers.  Bumblebees are in particular demand in some areas because they visit 2-3x as many flowers/minute and, because of their size, can carry heavier loads of pollen and are more likely to pollinate a flower on any given visit.

 

Disclosure: a daughter in law is a commercial beekeeper, raising bumblebee queens and hives.

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