Between January and March, beekeepers send millions of hives to California to pollinate almond trees. A sign in this almond orchard warns it is patrolled — a measure to combat rising beehive thefts. Photo: Barbara Rich / Getty Images

By Jodi Helmer
6 June 2016

(NPR) – Between December and March, beekeepers send millions of hives to California to pollinate almond trees. Not all of the hives make it back home.

"The number of beehive thefts is increasing," explains Jay Freeman, a detective with the Butte County Sheriff's Office.

In California, 1,734 hives were stolen during peak almond pollination season in 2016. In Butte County alone, the number of stolen hives jumped from 200 in 2015 to 400 this year, according to Freeman.

Denise Qualls, a California bee broker who arranges contracts between beekeepers and almond growers, isn't surprised that beehive thefts are on the rise.

It takes more than 2 million beehives to pollinate California almonds. Currently, beekeepers are paid $200 per hive for pollination services (compared with $130 per hive in 2010). [more]

Beekeepers Feel The Sting Of Stolen Hives

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