California beekeepers are offering $10,000 to anyone who can find the thieves who stole nearly 200 beehives using a forklift truck.
Two beekeepers in Visalia, California, noticed the insects went missing two weeks ago when they spotted a shortage of honey bees pollinating almond plants, Ag Alert reported.
The honey bee firms Gunter Honey and SP Godlin Apiaries each reported a total of 96 beehives stolen from their apiaries on February 10 and 11.
Steve Godlin, the beekeeper for Tulare County, told Ag Alert that 100 beehives are valued at $40,000.
The California Farm Bureau Federation announced on its Facebook page that beekeepers were starting to place the bees in the almond orchards around the time of the thefts.
“With almond bloom progressing in the Central Valley, beekeepers have placed colonies in orchards to pollinate the crop,” the California Farm Bureau Federation said in the post. “But demand for bees may be close to outstripping supply—and that has contributed to thefts of bee colonies.”
Detectives investigating the incident believe the thefts may have been an inside job.