Beekeepers Feel the Sting of Stolen Hives

NPR The Salt  By Jodi Helmer    June 6, 2016  

Between December and March, beekeepers send millions of hives to California to pollinate almond trees. Not all of the hives make it back home.

"The number of beehive thefts is increasing," explains Jay Freeman, a detective with the Butte County Sheriff's Office.

In California, 1,734 hives were stolen during peak almond pollination season in 2016. In Butte County alone, the number of stolen hives jumped from 200 in 2015 to 400 this year, according to Freeman.

Denise Qualls, a California bee broker who arranges contracts between beekeepers and almond growers, isn't surprised that beehive thefts are on the rise.

Continue reading:

Stolen hives. You can help. A new program.

(The following is brought to us by CATCH THE BUZZ (Kim Flottum) Bee Culture, The Magazine of American Beekeeping, published by A.I. Root Company.) 

More colonies lifted from almond orchard.  168 branded  hives were stolen out of the almond orchards out in Fresno Co. around the 1st of March. There’s a reward of $5,000 towards the recovery/conviction of the theft. 24 hives had a branded lid "TALBOTT" that were stolen as well as 144 hives that were branded "TALBOTT" on the lid, box and pallet. Any help would be greatly appreciated.  ContactJan Talbott, 100 S Bradford Street, Kimball, SD 57355PHONE 605-778-6427.

Unfortunately, the program below wasn’t in place. If you know of the location of these hives, please contact the beekeeper. Stealing hives…how low can you go…

But, maybe this will help in the future. With American recovery rates for stolen farm equipment averaging just 8% and lower for livestock, a Midwest detective aims to raise this figure with an Internet-based crime watch-style program designed for sparsely populated rural regions.


This ezine is also available online at

And the Thief - Watch for Stolen Bees

(The following is brought to us by CATCH THE BUZZ (Kim Flottum) Bee Culture, The Magazine of American Beekeeping, published by A.I. Root Company.)  

From the Modesto Bee 

A $10,000 reward has been offered in the theft of about 80 bee colonies from an almond farm northeast of Waterford, CA, with a value of about $16,000. Grower Gil Silbernagel said entire pallets of bee boxes were taken in mid-February after having been delivered by Utah-based beekeeper Darren Cox. Other growers and beekeepers have been asked to be on the lookout for people trying to sell the stolen hives, all of which are branded on boxes, lids and pallets, and at least 80% of the frames with COX or CVH or D COX. People with information that could lead to an arrest can call (209) 552-2468 or (435) 232-9429.

An interesting twist to this is that although the responsibility and liability for the colonies was accepted by the grower in the pollination contract, the insurance company is refusing to pay the beekeeper for the loss, and, in fact, will defend the grower in court if the beekeeper chooses to pursue the case.