Why anyone would take out the time to light up dozens of beehives? The beekeepers of Alvin in Brazoria County, Texas don’t really know, however, the entire community is stopping at nothing to find the perpetrators .
Just when the bees were about to get into their most active breeding season of the year, when the Chinese tallow trees and flowers begin to pollinate fully, someone pulled together several beehives in Alvin and set them on fire.
The discovery was made by a deputy officer who put the fire out with an extinguisher, but not before major damage had been done. In a Facebook post that has garnered 7,500 shares since April 27, the Brazoria County Beekeepers Association (BCBA) announced the crime committed against their members’ hard work .
“Last night someone did major damage to a BCBA Bee Yard in Alvin last night,” they wrote. “It’s bad enough to think in today’s world this would happen but dumping them over and then setting fire to them is beyond comprehension. Club has offered a reward to lead to conviction and anyone with info please forward it to the sheriff’s office as a case # has been filed.”
Speaking to abc13 News, Lieutenant Varon Snelgrove with the Sherriff’s office says this is an unusual occurrence in the friendly rural community, and the case would be a hard nut to crack .
“It’s not an easy case, any case of this nature. There are no witnesses, it’s a relatively rural area. It’s a matter of getting out and beating bushes,” he said. “It is unusual. Like I said, it’s a senseless case.”
Speaking to Houston Chronicles, Steve Brackmann, president of the BCBA said they lost an estimated 20 hives, each containing about 30,000 bees . All the honey they lost may take up to a year to gain back. The farmers are at a major disadvantage, and their businesses are heavily at stake.
“Vandalism is one thing,” Brackmann said. “But for someone to go in and spend their time dumping over those hives and lighting them on fire…I think it’s someone that doesn’t like beekeepers or bees.”
A bee farmer in the area, Dane Beito says he suspects that whoever committed the act has substantial knowledge of apiculture (beekeeping). Not many people would have the courage to go close to a beehive, let alone collect a score of them together and set them on fire in one large heap.
Speaking to Abc13 News, he said: “It really is unbelievable what took place,” said Beito. “Hopefully somebody shows up somewhere that’s pretty stung up, but at nighttime, bees don’t fly like they do during the day, they stay pretty close.”
Beito sells candles, lotions, and honey. He doesn’t think the surviving beehives would be of much use to them anymore this season.
The Brazoria County Crime Stoppers is offering a $5,000 reward to anyone who comes forward with useful information that would lead the police to the perpetrator(s). According to a post on their Facebook page, the BCBA is offering an additional $1,000 reward to the most relevant informant.