An almond extravaganza fuels a swarm of honeybee heists

Why the heck are organized criminals stealing beehives? The answer is in your bag of almonds.


February 24, 2020

The humble honeybee is facing an especially unnatural enemy — the pollen-pushing gangster.

The Guardian reports that loosely organized criminals are stealing hives in raids on unsuspecting California beekeepers.

There were just 101 hive thefts in California in 2015, but they shot up to 1k+ in 2016. So what the heck is all the buzz about???

The real money isn’t in the honey…

… it’s in your bag of almonds. (Hey, they call ’em Blue Diamond for a reason.)

There are 1m+ acres of almonds that require pollination in California. They need about 2 hives per acre — that’s a LOT of bees.

Our insatiable almond appetite has turned the little pollinators into precious commodities. Hives used to go for $35, and now they go for $200+.

One beekeeper almost lost it all

Lloyd Cunniff was forced to get into the almond game when his hives were decimated by colony collapse disorder. On his trip to California’s Central Valley, thieves made off with all 488 of his boxes o’ bees.

The police found them at a crime scene that was buzzing with ~2.5k hives from different owners.

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