Three queen bees and around 45,000 worker bees have been stolen in Craichie, Scotland – with the local police issuing a warning about a “growing phenomenon” after another theft occurred in Coupar Angus last week.
Police are investigating the theft, which is believed to have been carried out by professionals who knew how to manage the bees and equipment.
Last week, thieves stole 18 honeycomb frames along with queen and worker bees from anther farm, worth over £1,000. The company that owns the farm said that thieves are usually other beekeepers trying to fill their hives.
The thefts in Craichie, Tayside, is said to be the latest in a series according to experts, who warn that this is a “growing phenomenon”.
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John Coyle, East of Scotland representative of the Scottish Beekeepers Association, said, “At this time of year each colony will have about 20 pounds of honey. Even at £4 a pound, that’s not very much.
“But a colony of bees at this time of year, with one queen and 95% of the rest being drones, would be worth about £500.
“Or they could have been stolen from someone who was breeding different bees – for example, some people have been breeding black bees, which are native to Scotland, which would be worth huge sums of money.”
Both wild and honey bees have experienced decline over the past years in Europe, with the UK being one of the countries with the highest colony death rate. The decline has been partly attributed to a class of pesticides, which was banned in December for two years.
Photo: forevertrusting via flickr