photo: J. Novak
The UK Telegraph is reporting that German beekeepers are now using tracking systems to locate beehive bandits, that's right, beehive theft is on the rise. Gaede & Glauerdt, a Hamburg-based insurer specializing in apiculture, reported over 300 hive thefts last year, an 85 percent increase.According to a story in the UK Telegraph and reported on Mother Nature Network, this year's long and harsh winter in Germany has annihilated 30 percent of bee colonies, making honeybees a hot commodity. Forget cars, jewelry, and pricey electronics, thieves are jacking beehives in a big way. According to the story, a 71-year-old apiarist from Baden-Wurttemberg was caught in the act of bee burglary by a hidden camera installed in a hive. Other beekeepers have fitted their hives with GPS devices to track thieves.
And it's not just happening in Europe, check out the theives in Colusa County, California. It's no wonder that beehive theft is on the rise when you consider that they've gone from $50 to $150 in value. At $150 a hive, it's become a lucrative business as honeybee colonies continue to collapse.
Honeybee Colonies Collapsing
Although experts are unsure of why honeybee colonies are collapsing, pesticides, climate change, and other human impacts are among the suspected causes. The loss of these crucial pollinators is alarming. Without them the world food supply, including fruits, vegetables, flowers, other plants, and trees, could pretty much dry up.
According to the USFS, the public can help to protect these pollinators by being careful about what type of insecticides they choose to use and by reducing the amount of chemicals used in gardening and lawn maintenance.