Rural beehives vulnerable

Beehives placed in rural areas appear to the vulnerable to theft. In the last year thousands of dollars worth of beehives have disappeared from remote rural locations around the country, including Franklin. The high price for Manuka honey could be behind this, but noone really knows for sure.
The National Beekeepers Association’s chief executive officer, Daniel Paul, is much more evasive on the issue. “We do not think it is a big issue,” he says.
Because the hives that are disappearing are placed in remote location they are difficult to manage and are visited only every few weeks.
Mr Paul says there is talk of placing monitoring equipment, such as cameras and even GPS near such hives.
Greg Harrington of the Beehive in Drury believes the thieves could be people who want to get into the honey business quickly.
Rather than build up their own hives over time they steal existing colonies to kickstart their business.
“You need at least 150 hives to make money from Manuka,” he says.
He believes the thieves are targeting brood boxes rather than honey.
Mr Harrington says registered beekeepers have a number that they can burn into their hive boxes with a branding iron to prevent stealing.

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