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Beekeepers Feel The Sting Of California’s Great Hive Heist

Beehives in an apiary

Daniel Milchev/Getty Images


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Daniel Milchev/Getty Images

Beehives in an apiary

Daniel Milchev/Getty Images

Seventy-one million. That’s a series of bees Max Nikolaychuk tends in a rolling hills easterly of Fresno, Calif. Each is value a fragment of a cent, though together, they make adult a vast partial of his livelihood.

Nikolaychuk creates many of his income during almond pollination season, renting out a bees to California’s almond orchards. This year, a burglar stole 4 stacks of his hives.

“He knew about a bees, since he went by any bee cluster we had and usually took a good ones,” he says. “But, we know, a bee yards — we don’t have no confidence there, no fences.”

That miss of confidence means his bees have been stolen some-more than once. And it’s a form of burglary that’s been personification out all over a state’s orchards.

Literally billions of bees are indispensable to pollinate California’s almond crop. Not adequate bees live in California year-round to do that. So they are trucked in from opposite a country, from places like Colorado, Arizona and Montana. Earlier this year, around a million dollars’ value of stolen bees were found in a margin in Fresno County. Sgt. Arley Terrence with a Fresno County Sheriff’s Department says it was a “beehive clout shop.”

“There were so many opposite beehives and bee boxes owned by so many opposite victims,” Terrence says. “All of these stolen bee boxes that we recovered — nothing of them were stolen in Fresno County.”

The bees were stolen from opposite California, though they go to beekeepers from around a country. A few thousand bee boxes disappear any year, though this bee heist was different.

“This is a biggest bee burglary review that we’ve had,” Terrence says. Most of a time, he says, beehive thieves spin out to be “someone within a bee community.”

Earlier this year, California authorities unclosed this “beehive chop-shop” in a margin in Fresno County. A singular bee is value a fragment of a cent, though there can be as many as 65,000 bees in any hive.

Ezra Romero for NPR


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Ezra Romero for NPR

Earlier this year, California authorities unclosed this “beehive chop-shop” in a margin in Fresno County. A singular bee is value a fragment of a cent, though there can be as many as 65,000 bees in any hive.

Ezra Romero for NPR

That was a box in a hulk heist progressing this year. The purported thief, Pavel Tveretinov, was a beekeeper from Sacramento who used a stolen bees for pollination and afterwards stashed them on a tract of land in Fresno County. He was arrested and could face around 10 years of jail time. And authorities contend he didn’t act alone. His purported accomplice, Vitaliy Yeroshenko, has been charged and a aver is out for his arrest.

Steve Godlin with a California State Beekeepers Association says a problem of hive burglary gets worse any year.

“There used to be kind of a formula of respect that we didn’t disaster with another man’s bees,” Godlin says. But a purported perpetrators of this hulk hive burglary pennyless that code.

“He went way, approach over a line, Godlin says. “It’s just, we know, heart violation when we go out and your bees are gone.”

Godlin has had hives stolen in a past. He and many other beekeepers make their income not usually from renting out hives though also from offered a sugar a bees produce. So when bees are stolen, beekeepers remove out on both sources of income.

Godlin says it takes time to rise a new hive by introducing a new black and building honey. “Bees, we know, we have been strike by all from vandals to bears to thieves. But a desolation and thieving is a worst. You know, a one that hurts a most.”

Godlin says his classification will compensate a prerogative of adult to $10,000 for tips heading to a charge of bee thieves. But that usually relieves some of a sting.