LAYTON — Two brothers in Davis County have lost a lot of money because someone stole their bees.
When Bryce Bunderson checked on the bees last week, he thought someone had been spraying weeds and vegetation and that the overspray had wiped out a row of hives. But a state bee inspector checked everything out and told him the bees were stolen.
Bunderson was told bee rustlers removed the central frames of brood and bees and replaced them with empty frames.
Bunderson was one of two brothers maintaining the hives in their field in Layton for Slide Ridge Honey. The lost income from the honey and pollination, plus the replacement costs, are in the thousands of dollars.
Bunderson said they had 20 to 24 hives.
“It’s all but two or three (hives)” that were impacted, he said. Those hives were in a different location.
Each hive makes about 32 pounds of honey, which is sold for $7 to $8 a pound. Before winter, they take the hives to Nevada and California to pollinate the almond crops, where they can earn $170 per hive.
Money earned through the beehives paid for Bunderson's brother’s mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. When his brother returns, Bunderson plans to keep the bees to pay for his mission as well.
“We just have to wait till next spring and try to see if we can buy more bees, and split the ones we have,” he said. “That’s if they survive. So we just have to wait and see what happens next year.”
Slide Ridge Honey posted on Twitter that people are offering to replace the missing bees to help the brothers. They also say that the bee rustlers will need queens for the stolen bees. They will also need food and perhaps other supplies. This could help police find the bee rustlers.
“You can’t really bounce back from that, but we are going to try,” Bunderson said.
Contributing: Viviane Vo-Duc