As if honeybees didn’t already have enough challenges to their survival… The Toronto Star reported that honeybee hive theft – or what they call “bee rustling” – is on the rise in Canada. Beekeepers are reporting thefts of queens, frames, and whole hives, with one Albertan beekeeper reporting the theft of 150 hives and about three million bees valued at $60,000
So WHY would anyone steal a beehive? One theory is that theft is on the rise because of the increased losses on beehives from colony collapse disorder (CCD). The Canadian Honey Council estimated the bee population in Canada to have dropped 35% over the last three years.
Then the next question would be, WHO is stealing beehives? Beekeepers believe that the thieves are experienced bee insiders, as stealing a hundred boxes of buzzing honeybees is no easy feat. As one beekeeper said, “Who would be stealing airplanes? It would have to be a pilot.”The loss of honeybees due to CCD combined with desperation to make a living are a recipe for a beekeeper to do something out of character such as steal honeybees.