As the second week of February begins, so has California’s almond growing season. During this crucial time of preparation, 1.8 million commercial honey beehives are brought in to the state to help pollinate the 800,000 acres of almonds. The $6 billion California almond industry wouldn’t exist if honeybees weren’t brought in from around the US. 90 percent of all the commercial beehives colonized in the US are rented out to the California almond industry each year. Commercial hives are brought in from Michigan to Idaho. Some hives are trucked in all the way from the East Coast. As the pollinators continue to die off each year, it’s becoming harder and more expensive to sustain important crops such as the almonds.
To make matters worse, counties in California are now reporting that mass beehive thefts are on the rise. Butte County Sheriff’s Detective, Jay Freeman, says the bee hive thefts have been “picking up this year” which “could be due to the increased prices and pollination fees and also a shortage of bees coming into California as well.” At least a half dozen thefts have been reported in Glenn, Kern, Colusa and Sutter counties. In Butte county, the thefts have become a big deal. According to the Butte County Sheriff’s Office, “information that over 500 beehives have been reported stolen in two separate incidents which took place in two neighboring counties over the last two weeks.” READ MORE