Beehive Heist! Someone Steals $200,000 Worth of Bees - KMPH FOX 26 | Central San Joaquin Valley News Source

Beehive Heist! Someone Steals $200,000 Worth of Bees

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It's a heist you don't hear about often: beehives.

But now, a Fresno County family is feeling the sting after someone stole more than 570 hives.

"We run about 2,000 hives... so this is a little over 25% of our operation gone," says Paul Morris, a third-generation bee farmer from Coalinga .

"It's kinda shocking… you just drive along and every place there was supposed to be 36 hives, they're all gone. A whole avenue was taken from an orchard."

It happened sometime between Friday night and Saturday morning at Westlake Farms in Kettleman City.

It's not easy to pull off a heist of this magnitude.

A large flatbed truck hauls just over 250 hives.

Morris' family rents out beehives across the Central Valley, from Madera to Kettleman City.

Right now, demand is at its peak.

It's the time of the year bees help with pollination.

"Almost all vegetable and fruit crops are pollinated by bees," Morris says.

It's not the first time someone has stolen hives from the family.

"We actually had 60 stolen last year, but we never had an amount like this," Morris says.

He has filed a report with the Kings County Sheriff's Department.

He will now have to take out a $10,000 loan to buy bees to make his pollination contract this year.

He says replacements are nice, but, "bees are hard enough to raise as it is. Having them disappear is devastating to the business."

The California Beekeeper's Association is stepping up to offer a $10,000 reward in the case.

The owner of Westlake Farms is also offering a $10,000 reward.

Morris says his beehives are white and silver, and were on blue pallets.

If you have any information, you can call the Kings County Sheriff's Department at 559-592-3211.  

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