KSBW US Reporter Sierra Starks January 17, 2018
The honey bees were being kept on Mike Hickenbottom's Prunedale property along Echo Valley Road during the winter. The bees are owned by a man who lives in the Central Valley, where it's too cold during winter months, and they like feeding from eucalyptus trees that flower on the Central Coast during this time of year.
Hickenbottom believes his neighbors were behind the incident, partially because they had complained to him three times.
The bees are allowed to fly freely around the property, and Hickenbottom's neighbors said their children were too scared to go outside.
Hickenbottom said the Italian and Russian honey bees are not aggressive.
"I go up around the bee boxes without any protective clothing on. I've never been stung," he said.
The vandals struck sometime between 10:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday.
"Somebody came here, and tipped over all the boxes, and sprayed them with diesel fuel. It killed a whole bunch of bees," beekeeper Alfonzo Perez.
An estimated 200,000 bees died.
Perez leases the hives to pollinate almond trees growing on farms across Californian.
The bee killing cost Perez more than $50,000, a huge chunk of his annual salary.
"I just feel really bad for Alfonzo because he work so hard to support his family. Then somebody goes and does something like this," Hickenbottom said.
A police report was filed with the Monterey County Sheriff's Office. No arrests have been made.