If you have a beehive or two, it’s property that is becoming increasingly valuable — and worth stealing.

We’ve had a couple of incidents of beehive thefts in this part of East Tennessee, and the problem could grow more serious in the coming months.

It’s a growing problem in California (according to a recent article in ModernFarmer.com), too, and there law enforcement officials and beekeepers have dealt with it enough to understand some of the difficulties in preventing it from happening and then prosecuting the perpetrators.

Those problems include:

Finding stolen hives. The cyclical and sometimes migratory nature of beekeeping makes stolen have difficult to locate.

The value of hives. Yes, beehives are becoming more valuable, but they’re not yet at the level of a car or tractor. Law enforcement agencies have to allocate limited resources, and finding a stolen beehive may not be a top priority.

Handling the hive. Most police office don’t know how to handle a beehive and probably aren’t anxious to learn at a moment’s notice.

The hive as evidence. A beehive can’t be impounded as evidence without risking serious damage to the bees.

Lack of knowledge among police and prosecutors. Bees and beehives are serious business to those who keep them, even if we’re not in it for the profits. Sometimes the complaints of beekeepers are not taken as seriously as they should be because police and prosecutors simply don’t get what beekeeping is all about.

Read the ModernFarmer.com article and see what you think.

 

Key words: bees, stolen beehives, bee rustling, beehive thefts, ModernFarmer.com, beehives as evidence

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