Hundreds of hives stolen in California belong to Towner beekeeper

Towner, ND — A California crime trend hits a North Dakota beekeeper. A Towner business leased out its bees to a farmer in California. Now, the owner thinks he may never see them again.

Daniel Gunter’s working through the evening, unloading 240 hives of new bees that are just in from Texas.

 “There’s 9 frames in there. There’s about 4-6 frames that are brood. Young bees and larvae,” he said.

Gunter had hives to spare, and they are needed out in California this time of year. So he sent a load out to pollinate some almonds. But they never made it back.​​​​​​​

“He put the hives in the orchard and come by the next day and somebody had stolen 196 of them,” he said.

It would take a lot of work and expertise to move that kind of load.

“It’s another beekeeper that has the equipment, and they know what to do,“ Gunter believes.

A lot goes into putting these hives together and keeping the bees healthy. Gunter estimates those hives are worth close to $250 each, bringing the total amount stolen close to $50,000.

That’ll make you re-think some things.

“With the technology nowadays it might not be so bad to have a chip to put in your hives and your yards,” Gunter said.

But for now, Gunter will keep moving forward with another shipment coming in later this week.

Beehive theft has become such an issue in California that The California State Beekeepers association even offers a $10,000 reward for information that leads to catching a thief.

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