Beehive theft

Insurance policies are costly for beehive theft.  Very few beekeepers are compensated for their losses. Beekeepers provide millions of hives to California almond tree growers between December and March each year.

Beehive thefts are on the rise. More than 2 million hives are needed to pollinate California almond trees. Experts believe that beekeepers are behind the thefts. They have the knowledge as well as the equipment to take the hives. Up to 200 hives are stolen in one go. The hives are generally unmarked, however, some beekeepers are putting GPS tracking units in their hives. Someone stealing the hives makes pure profit from the honey in the hives without any upfront work.

The problem of beehive theft is also prevalent across England and Wales. Certain strains of Queen bees can fetch up to 180 British pounds each. Bee mortality insurance is furthermore covered when bee losses occur due to “Colony Collapse Disorder” (CCD). The chief symptom is no or a low number of adult honey bees present but with a live queen and no dead honey bees in the hive. Researchers who are trying to find out the cause of CCD are focussing on the invasive Varroa mite. According to a 2007 article, the mite Varroa destructor remains the world’s most honeybee killer. It results in deformed wing virus and acute bee paralysis. The bees also suffer a compromised immune system. New studies are finding that a group of insecticides called Neonicotinoids are also the possible cause of CCD.

Other causes being considered are pesticides, fungi, the use of antibiotics and the long-distance transport of hives.
In addition, malnutrition, poor quality Queens and immunodeficiencies. The USDA is currently piloting two Apiculture insurance programs in various states across the USA. Broken Arrow Crop Insurance can also offer programs for beekeeping operations. These programs are sold via private insurance companies.