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Author Topic: Stolen Beehives  (Read 1790 times)
BjornBee
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« on: December 14, 2012, 09:38:26 AM »

Beehives were stolen over the past weekend from a Hanover Beekeeper in York County, Pennsylvania. Here is a news story on the event:
http://www.abc27.com/story/20341304/bee-hives-stolen-from-hanover-man

Someone knows someone that knows something about these hives. The more press and chatter created, the better the chances that the thieves will be caught. And if they get away with it this time, no doubt they will do it again.

Please pass this along for beekeepers in the Pennsylvania and Maryland areas.

Details as follows: Two white males, 20-30 years old, driving a white newer model van with high placed rear brake lights. Vehicle had Pa. plates.
11 hives made of plywood, unpainted, with plastic tops.
 

Thank you.
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tefer2
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« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2012, 10:43:32 AM »

Those unpainted hives should stand out from a distance. Hope they catch the culprits.
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S.Rummings
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« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2012, 10:49:44 AM »

It seems this is becoming more common. We have to deal with CCD, beetles, diseases, cold winters and now theft? Were the hives marked in any way? I would think that most hives are not made of plywood (new bee so don't know for sure) so this should make them easier to identify? I would certainly hope my neighbors would do something other than watch if my hives were being hauled away. At least they got a pretty good description.

What is anyone else doing to mark your hives? I am considering a brand for mine. Probably mark the frames too since that is where the real value is. Too easy to put frames with bees in new boxes and burn the easily identified boxes. Well... not that easy with the weather right now.
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AllenF
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« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2012, 07:46:05 PM »

It does seem like we have heard more about stolen hives this year than ever before.   A sign of the times?   I never worried about it before, but this year have worried about my hives.   Worry about the hives more than locking the house door.   
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BlueBee
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« Reply #4 on: December 14, 2012, 08:00:42 PM »

It just canít believe anybody in the general public would be dumb enough to steal bee hives.  Heck most of them are scared to death of bees!  This just smells like beeks to me; sad to say.

If I were a thief, the last thing on earth I would steal is bee hives.  Theyíre way too heavy and you canít pawn them off for cash.  Personally I donít think they have any real value to anybodyÖexcept our fellow beeks.

When I was between 20 and 30 there were much more interesting things to chase than bee hives.  I guess times have changed.  Letís hope somebody squeals on these losers.
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S.Rummings
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« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2012, 11:50:17 PM »

It just canít believe anybody in the general public would be dumb enough to steal bee hives.  Heck most of them are scared to death of bees!  This just smells like beeks to me; sad to say.

Was I out of line for not even considering any other possibility? In my mind it has to be beeks. You certainly can't trade a hive for a gun or a crack rock. What I find most puzzling is that it seems to be a bad time of year to do this. You can't even use them for a pollination contract this time of year and I doubt anyone would buy bees in December. The boxes themselves have very little value.

Can somebody help me understand the value of stolen bees in PA in December? I just don't get it but I never claimed to be a criminal mastermind either. Maybe this wasn't as much about getting the bees but the real goal was hurting the beekeeper?

Yes, you can probably tell I am a little ticked about this and they weren't even my bees.  angry
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tefer2
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« Reply #6 on: December 15, 2012, 08:46:36 AM »

after seeing the video again, looks like the crime scene is in the middle of town. I'll bet that this was set up by an upset neighbor close by. A dozen hives is a bunch of bee's. The hauler knew that they are not very active this time of year too.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2012, 09:14:20 AM by tefer2 » Logged
lazy shooter
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« Reply #7 on: December 15, 2012, 09:12:06 AM »

Like the above posters, this has to be the work of beekeepers or at least someone that works for a beekeeper.  The 'run of the mill' thief would be petrified about loading hives and hives of bees into an enclosed van.  These thieves knew the bees would be inactive.  For sure, they can't pawn bee hives for some quick cash.  They were either mad neighbors or "wanna be beekeepers."  I sincerely hope the property is recovered.  My best guess is someone wanting to get into beekeeping.   If you steal bees that have been properly winterized, then this spring they will simply come out of the cluster and start producing honey.  If one has zero investment in the colonies, then it should be profitable.

I live in cattle country, and sometimes a cattle rustler will steal a bull and use it for free for a few years and then dispose of it.  The bull is the one animal in a herd that does not produce a calf each year, so if one gets the bull free it is a huge benefit.  I think these bee rustlers are thinking along the same path.
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BlueBee
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« Reply #8 on: December 15, 2012, 10:29:58 AM »

Another good reason for running jumbos. grin  They canít be moved without some strong duds or a forklift!
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kingbee
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« Reply #9 on: December 20, 2012, 07:08:52 PM »

It just canít believe anybody in the general public would be dumb enough to steal bee hives... [anyone] considering any other possibility?... You ...can't trade a hive for ...a crack rock... it seems to be a bad time of year to do this... can't even use them for a pollination contract this time of year and I doubt anyone would buy bees in December. The boxes themselves have very little value.
Can somebody help me understand the value of stolen bees in PA in December? ...

Maybe they are prepper types and just want to be sure they have a supply of bees stashed away in their bunker when the Mayian calender blows up the Earth tomorrow. BANG  grin
OR... maybe one of the perps has a hippy sweetheart  Kiss who wants a bee hive for Christmas.  Hives of bees are cheaper by the half dozen, don't you know?  This is especially true if they are free.

On the otherhand a beek should know better than to say that a bee hive is worth $500.
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S.Rummings
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« Reply #10 on: December 20, 2012, 11:21:29 PM »

On the otherhand a beek should know better than to say that a bee hive is worth $500.
Maybe he bought the hives on ebay.


I can see established hives being worth $500 or more when you add physical value with production value. Could add up fast if he was going to split a couple nucs off it.
« Last Edit: December 22, 2012, 01:59:34 AM by S.Rummings » Logged
BjornBee
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« Reply #11 on: December 21, 2012, 08:48:49 AM »

There are many ways to figure the cost of an item. There is fair market value, replacement value, value of use, insurance value, and others. Each has to do with unique situations.

Without these hives, this beekeeper has no way to produce income in the spring. He may of lost pollination contracts. He will lose an entire years worth of honey production building hives up again in strength.

Just because you can find hives cheaper elsewhere does not tell the story. Can he find hives with clean comb, with no applied chemicals, in December in Pennsylvania?

If you have a particular car stolen, say a limited classic edition, worth more than the average car, do you settle on making the guy who stole it give you back any car. "Hey....you had a car with 4 wheels, and I gave you a car with four wheels" does not hold up in court. Having a classic stolen, then saying you can find a cheap replacement model on eBay for far less then the actual value of the loss, is not right. 4 wheels does not equal 4 wheels.

If you figure these hives had 60-80 pounds of honey at 6 dollars a pound for local artisan honey, that is 360 to 480 dollars in honey. The bees are worth at least another hundred if he needed to buy a nuc or package, and then there is the woodenware. Throw in a year or two building up the hives, drawing comb, etc., and why would 500 hundred dollars in loss be inappropriate?

Can he replace these hives in time to not miss a pollination contract this coming spring? What about honey contracts produced by his particular hives? He can not buy another persons hives and then market honey coming from his own hives free of chemicals. If I take a 5 dollar piece of equipment to shut down a production line, the loss is not 5 dollars. It is the potential loss of the production line not running, and the losses could be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars for reporting and insurance purposes. You do not settle for 5 dollars of loss.

But go ahead and kick the guy when he is down. Here a beekeeper loses his hives, and other beekeepers are nitpicking some amount of loss and thinking 500 dollars is too much to quote. I know the guy who lost the hives. He has a unique coffee, tea, and herb business where he sells at trade shows, fairs, and markets. What he lost in potential sales is more than some replacement cost of buying someone Else's hives. And going out and buying some cheap replacement honey this year while the hives builds up, is not an option.

I'd say his loss and the value of the hives is more than 500 dollars. And I bet under the circumstances, if this happened to you, you would not be happy being paid the asking price of some other hives being offered out there.
« Last Edit: December 21, 2012, 10:15:29 AM by BjornBee » Logged

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RHBee
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« Reply #12 on: December 21, 2012, 10:41:34 AM »

There are many ways to figure the cost of an item. There is fair market value, replacement value, value of use, insurance value, and others.

I'd say his loss and the value of the hives is more than 500 dollars. And I bet under the circumstances, if this happened to you, you would not be happy being paid the asking price of some other hives being offered out there.

Well said. I have invested quite a lot of time, effort and, money in my hobby this year. Quite a few start up costs beyond the cost of bees and woodenware. I wouldn't take twice that amount for my hives. They have to much me in them. I guess I'm sayin is I really hope they catch the thieves and prosecute them to the full extent of the law.
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Ray
lazy shooter
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« Reply #13 on: December 21, 2012, 11:33:07 AM »

In many instances thieves steal more than the market value of your property.  Long ago, before everything in my life was on a computer or a computer back-up source, I had my briefcase stolen out of my car.  It was a smash and grab event, and I lost about 500 bucks worth of briefcase and eye glasses.  That was a small loss.  The real loss was some engineering drawing that I had been working on for months.  There was also an address book that contained my business contacts over the past 10 years.  I would have gladly paid the thief 10 grand for those two items. 

In addition, thieves steal your sense of security and trust.  Stealing is a dastardly happening.
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scdw43
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« Reply #14 on: December 23, 2012, 11:27:01 AM »


When I have heard of hives stolen in the past, it has always turned out to be another beekeeper that stole them. Most wannabe beekeepers are scared to death to open a hive, much less move one, even in winter. As far as stupid neighbors they just spray them, they don't move them. My 2 cents. Keep us informed I would like to see how it turns out.
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Winter Ventilation: Wet bees die in hours maybe minutes, no matter how much honey is in the hive.
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