Bee pollination during the month of February is an important component of California's almond harvest. Due to a bee shortage in the state, many almond farmers rent beehives from beekeepers to ensure that their almond orchards get pollinated. Though beekeepers are charging higher rental fees this year, they are also losing money from theft.
Thefts of beehives have resulted in losses of $100,000 for some California beekeepers. According to reports from industry insiders, the stolen beehives are rented or sold after they are stolen. Some of the people who steal the beehives may be beekeepers that are trying to make up for the financial losses they have incurred from dead hives. Authorities say that they believe many of the recent beehive thefts are the work of other beekeepers due to the equipment that has been used in the thefts.
One of the beehive thefts that authorities are investigating took place on a farm in Sutter County on Jan. 18. Almost 300 beehive boxes valued at $98,000 were taken. On Jan. 30, 280 beehives were taken from a farm in Colusa County, and 200 beehives were taken from a farm in Butte County on the same day. A Feb. 4 theft of 64 beehives valued at around $200,000 resulted in an arrest.
Authorities will sometimes suspect that a theft incident was committed by a person who has specialized knowledge and expertise. If an individual has been accused of committing a theft based on a personal profile rather than physical evidence, an attorney may help to dispute the allegations. An attorney may help the defendant to gather alibi eyewitnesses and other evidence to prove that they were not at the scene of a theft when it took place.
Source: CNBC, "Bee thieves a buzz killjoy for almond growers," Jeff Daniels, Feb. 9, 2016