YOLO COUNTY (CBS13) — Dozens of stolen bee boxes have been recovered after detectives raided a residence outside of Woodland on Tuesday.
The Yolo County Sheriff’s Office says detectives served a search warrant to a property along the 34000 block of County Road 25 as part of an agriculture theft investigation. At the property, detectives found more than 70 bee boxes that had been reported stolen from at least 6 different Yolo County beekeepers. Detectives say, in total, the stolen bee boxes are worth more than $18,000.
A couple of ATVs and a motorcycle, all of which had been reported stolen, were also recovered at the property. One man, 35-year-old Yolo County resident Justin Perdue, has been arrested in connection to the case. Perdue is facing charges of possession of stolen property, possession of stolen motor vehicles and possession of methamphetamine.
The sheriff’s office notes that bee thefts have become increasingly common in Yolo County.
“It’s just you know a crappy feeling,” Henry’s Bullfrog Bees owner Henry Harlan said.
This isn’t the first time Harlan has been robbed, but he says it never gets easier.
“We put a lot of work, and my guys put a lot of work into this. I count about six of my boxes over there and six or eight hives stolen,” Harlan said.
The buzz around town is that the beekeepers know exactly who stole from them.
“I’ve met him before. He worked for another beekeeper along time ago,” Harlan said.
When the stolen equipment was found, it was painted over to hide the rightful owners’ branding.
“That’s why we’ve got all these funky colors out here, trying to cover up maybe there’s some branding or some labeling underneath it,” Harlan said.
So why are beehives so valuable? Harlan said the price of almonds right now makes hives worth a lot of money. He explained that bees pollinate the flowers that grow the almonds, so if the price of almonds go up, beekeepers can charge more to rent out their hives, roughly $200 a box.
Harlan did get his bees back after they were stolen, but he is not sure if he can use them. He says if they weren’t cared for by the person who stole them, they could be sick and would have to be quarantined before they can go back to their colony.