A spate of thefts has rocked Britain's once close-knit beekeeping community, the Independent reports. Many farmers have lost hives, sometimes up to 100 in one theft, worth many thousands of dollars. A shortage of honey after massive bee die-offs over two harsh winters has made bees valuable enough to be targeted by thieves, and victims believe the rustlers must be rival beekeepers.
"It has got to be someone who knows about bees. Who would you want to move 40,000 bees?" asked one farmer whose hives were stolen. "They would have needed the right equipment and know how to move them without killing them. I assume they were either stolen to order, or it was a desperate bee farmer whose hives had died."