In what may be the week's most saddening and disturbing news, someone set fire to a bee yard in Brazoria County, Texas, on the weekend. The act resulted in the death of half a million bees.
"Last night someone did major damage to a BCBA Bee Yard in Alvin last night. Its bad enough to think in today's world this would happen but dumping them over and then setting fire to them is beyond comprehension," wrote the Brazoria County Beekeepers Association (BCBA) in a Facebook post.
BCBA president Steven Brackmann told The Houston Chronicle that he estimates nearly 20 hives were damaged and half a million bees were killed. He believes the act is more than just vandalism.
"Vandalism is one thing," Brackmann said. "But for someone to go in and spend their time dumping over those hives and lighting them them on fire...I think it's someone that doesn't like beekeepers or bees."
Lieutenant Varon Snelgrove told The Independent the crime could be "looked at from two different avenues.”
“Was someone just creating mischief for no other reason than to destroy something?” he said. “Or did someone have an ax to grind with someone? Could it be another beekeeper? There are a lot of different avenues that it could take.”
A reward is now being offered for any information that will lead to an arrest. Although honey bees are not endangered, there has been an alarming decline in their numbers in the last century.
The BCBA wrote in their post that they hoped the queens were still there in the remaining colonies. The organization is likely planning to rebuild the bee yard.
It may seem like an odd crime, but hive vandalism is actually quite common. Only six months ago, hives in Iowa were destroyed while in January 2018 another 200,000 bees were killed in California.
The bees that were killed on Saturday were shared by four owners. The insects were being raised as a hobby and for making honey products for sale.