With California’s almond bloom in full swing, nearly 90% of all commercial hives in the United States will make a pilgrimage to the Golden State to help pollinate this important crop.
Almond farmers are paying up to $200 per hive for pollination, and with such a large amount of money changing hands, comes the unfortunate increase in bee theft.
At least a half dozen honeybee thefts have been reported this year in five counties — Butte, Colusa, Glenn, Kern and Sutter. Some beekeepers have estimated their losses could reach $100,000 for the theft of hundreds of hives they rent out to pollinate almonds and other crops…
The Butte County Sheriff's Office said on Feb. 2 it obtained "information that over 500 beehives have been reported stolen in two separate incidents which took place in two neighboring counties over the last two weeks." One instance involved 280 hives on Jan. 30 in Colusa County, while the other was about 200 hives stolen in Butte County.
If you have any knowledge about these thefts, the California State Beekeeper Association is offering rewards up to $10,000.
In addition, if a farmer reports that they have stolen a hive, the owners of the hive will allow the hives to stay for the remainder of the bloom. The goal isn’t to punish farmers for doing the right thing.
Click here to learn more about the rewards from the CSBA and see photos of some of the stolen hives.