Beekeepers Beware: Colony thefts in Sussex County

SUSSEX CO., Del. – The Delaware Department of Agriculture is picking away at several reports that have come in about bee theft in Sussex County.

Meghan McConnell, the State Apiarist said, “It is heartbreaking for some of these beekeepers, but they’re doing what they can to make splits and rebound what they can to get back into it.”

Several beekeepers say they’ve either had several frames or entire colonies of bees stolen off their property.

McConnell said, “For some people this is your livelihood, but for some people its just their hobby, but still heartbreaking to see that happen. You wouldn’t want someone to come in to your house and steal your pet cat or steal your car something like that that you rely on daily.”

By stealing even just a few frames, an entire bee colony could be disrupted.

Mary Randall, a local beekeeper said, “Poor bees, and remember the queen has laid all those eggs and she has a pattern she kind of knows what the different timings of it are so when they pull out those frames that’s going to interrupt that brood cycle.”

You might be wondering why on earth someone would steal honeybees. The answer is money.

McConnell said, “It’s most likely a beekeeper that would steal bees so that they can fill any of the pollination contracts that they need or that they already promised.”

We’re told there are several things beekeepers can do to keep their colonies safe.

McConnell said, “One thing we suggest doing is branding your frames or your boxes. That way if you have your name or your logo on them its really identifiable.  Also putting them in an area that’s not right along a roadside so if you’re able to put them farther form the road they’re less visible to people.”

Randall said she’ll now be sure to continue to keep a close eye on her colonies.

Randall said, “I actually have cameras here so I have 24/7 monitoring. I talked with all of my neighbors so they are aware of my colonies.”

If you wake up one morning and find that any of your bees have been stolen you’re encouraged to file a police report and report it to the Department of Agriculture.


Categories: Delaware, Local News