Farmers and ranchers are no stranger to theft, but as beekeeping rises, so does theft in this specialty industry. In 2016 alone, 1,734 hives were stolen during peak almond pollination, NPR reports in “Beekeepers Feel the Sting of Stolen Hives.”
As more bees are used for pollination services, the potential profit for thieves makes stealing hives an opportunity they can’t seem to pass up. “Currently, beekeepers are paid $200 per hive for pollination services (compared with $130 per hive in 2010),” reports NPR, which says it takes more than 2 million beehives to pollinate California almonds.
Since beekeeping takes a certain level of knowledge, many believe that fellow beekeepers are the ones responsible for the majority of hive heists, some of which have been considerable. "Thieves targeting hives to rent during pollination season are not making off with one or two hives. In Butte County, several large-scale hive thefts occurred this year, with reports ranging from 64 to 200 hives swiped at a time," according to NPR.
Read more about the thefts in California, Iowa, and elsewhere at “Beekeepers Feel the Sting of Stolen Hives.”