Friday, May 15, 2009

A Black Market For Bees?

Image credit: Chelsea Bay Wills.

The Black Market is driven by a simple principle – supply and demand. As soon as something becomes hard to get, someone will come up with a “steal to order” scheme.

Such has happened in the UK. We are all aware that bees and their keepers have fallen on hard times with disease, climate change and colony collapse disorder taking its toll on bees worldwide.

Britain’s honeybee keepers are being warned to protect their hives from bee rustlers as thefts of hives have risen to unprecedented levels. In the latest incident, more than a million bees were taken from a strawberry farm near Telford, Shropshire.

David Sutton, the National Bee Unit inspector for western England, said: "You used to get the odd one or two, but not like this. People are realising the value of bees now because they are very scarce."

Second-hand hives that used to sell for £30 ($45) can now fetch more than £200 ($305). With each hive capable of producing around 50 lb of honey a year, victims stand to lose thousands of pounds.

To make matters worse, it would appear that the culprits are in the beekeeping community also. Tim Lovett, president of the British Beekeepers Association, said: "To steal bees, you have to know what you are doing. Beekeepers are now on the lookout. It's a vicious circle. You lose more bees, the price of bees goes up and the risk of them being stolen goes up."

So it would seem that you never really know what you’ve got until it’s gone.

No comments: