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Beehive Theft in Fresno County Stings Beekeeper, $100,000 Reward Offered
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By News
Published 2 months ago on
February 16, 2024

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Beekeeper offers a $100,000 reward for stolen hives.

Bee thefts are a recurring problem in California.

GPS tracking and surveillance cameras are used for hive protection.


Andy Strehlow, a commercial beekeeper and owner of one of the largest beekeeping operations in the U.S., Strehlow Bees Inc., is offering a $100,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the thief who stole 96 of his beehives.

The theft occurred in Fresno County, where Strehlow’s bees were brought from South Dakota to pollinate almond blossoms.

“I felt violated,” Strehlow said. “Quite likely it’s another beekeeper, and that’s what really stings about it: beekeepers stealing from other beekeepers.” Over his 25-year career, Strehlow estimates nearly 1,000 of his hives have been stolen.

The thefts are not isolated incidents. The California State Beekeepers Association has recorded nearly a dozen reports of bee theft this year, involving hundreds of hives in Fresno, Madera, Glenn, and Butte counties.

Thefts Often Occur During Winter

The thefts typically occur in late winter, a critical time for beekeepers and the Central Valley orchards that rent their services. The high demand for bees, particularly for almond pollination, creates a lucrative market for stolen hives.

The Fresno County Sheriff’s Office suspects the thief is someone with knowledge of beekeeping, including how to handle and transport hives.

“It’s a consistent thing we deal with,” said sheriff’s spokesman Tony Botti.

In response to the thefts, some beekeepers are turning to GPS tracking devices and surveillance cameras to protect their hives.

Strehlow hopes the substantial reward will encourage someone close to the thief to come forward.

“It’s more important to get the guy found just so that he can be stopped,” he said.

Read more at Los Angeles Times.

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