Thieves Stole Over 60,000 Bees From A Grocery Store

By Charlene Badasie | 3 months ago

bees stolen giant

The Giant Company has put out an alert to other beekeepers after bees, three hives, and their colonies were stolen from their corporate headquarters in Pennsylvania. The hives contained approximately 60,000 bees and were taken on the Harrisburg Pike in Carlisle between January 28th and January 30th. In a statement, the grocery company’s community impact manager Jessica Groves said that the bees were an essential part of the local food chain that is suffering from a decreased bee population.

“These beehives were one way we were helping to address the declining bee population here in our hometown community,” Groves said in the statement. “We are extremely disappointed that this happened and are continuing to cooperate with Middlesex Township Police Department.” According to law enforcement, approximately 60,000 bees were stolen from the grocery company.

While the loss of insects may seem easy to shrug off at first, the theft comes at a time when bee populations are dropping across the country. This has caused serious concern among the nation’s agricultural industry and environmentalists. Roughly one-third of the country’s food supply depends on insects such as honeybees to pollinate plants. So bees stolen en masse is a pretty big deal.

Bees might seem like an odd commodity to steal. However, the incident at the Giant Company isn’t the first of its kind. In 2020, California’s almond growers (who rely on bees’ pollination skills) reported an increase in the number of beehives that had been stolen from their properties. According to the California Farm Bureau’s AgAlert, one million acres of almond blossoms require twice as many apiaries.

As a result, up to two-thirds of the beekeepers in the United States lease their bees to almond farmers annually. And in January 2020, 92 hives were stolen from a single field in Yuba City, California. Speaking about the incident, beekeeper and theft victim Mike Potts expressed his frustration, saying they work hard enough all year to keep the bees alive. Then one guy comes around and steals them (via Food & Wine).

Having their bees stolen will hit the Giant Company extremely hard since they have been working to preserve bees in the area for years. In 2020, the company announced the completion of a seven-acre pollinator-friendly field at its Pennsylvania headquarters. In addition to planting more than 20 different kinds of wildflowers, they also partnered with the Planet Bee Foundation to add and maintain several beehives in the field.

Sadly, the theft of bees is a phenomenon that has always existed. But in recent times it has taken on a new dimension. In the past, the robbers would take the honey supers just before harvest, or one or two hives. These days, entire apiaries are being stolen with more than a dozen hives disappearing all at once. Moreover, the general bee population has been dwindling in recent months, with beekeepers reporting an estimated loss of 45.5% of their colonies from April 2020 to April 2021, according to the nonprofit Bee Informed Partnership led by the University of Maryland.