Bee theft and hive vandalism threaten beekeepers' livelihoods and the bee industry's sustainability, but also have a serious impact on the ecology, food security and the economy. Bee farmers are trying to get bees to be seen as livestock so that authorities will take them seriously.
On the morning of 27 May 2021, beekeeper Craig Campbell visited his apiary site (an area ideal for bees to forage), to find that overnight, 235 of his bee boxes had been destroyed. The thieves cut out the honey, destroying the hives, equipment and killing the broods in the process.
The few bee colonies that survived the destructive vandalism lost their home. Campbell told Daily Maverick that the total loss of the equipment, bee colonies and honey amounts to about R700,000.
"How do you recover from that, you know?" says Campbell, who's been a bee farmer for more than 30 years. "It's a massive knock to us. I mean, we're carrying on for now, but to me, the writing's on the wall, I'm closing up."
Bee farmer Craig Campbell visited his apiary site to find that overnight 235 of his bee boxes had been destroyed. This is not an...