Bees make a beeline for home after being stolen

Bees make a beeline for home after being stolen by a rival beekeeper

Bees make a beeline for home after being stolen by a rival beekeeper Credit: Pixabay

Every kid learns to make a beeline for home but a rival beekeeper suspected of stealing more than 400,000 bees forgot the simple rule.

Stolen from Tresillian House, in Cornwall, the bees have been returning home all week after fleeing their captors.

In what was an audacious heist that left little clues other than tire tracks in the grass, the thieves were left with nothing after the bees returned home. All they got for their troubles is the evidence the police need to convict them, the five stolen containers.

Assistant beekeeper Kathrin Barnes said the returning bees were being put into a new hive as they returned, with the bees stolen having been kept locally for them to return home and so soon.

She said: “There are so many it indicates that they are nearby and are on their way back home.

“If bees are moved less than a mile they go back to where they were before.

“They will probably all come back if they are chasing after a smell, that’s our hope.”

According to the police the five hives were taken on June 11 between 6 pm and 6 am the next day.

Head Beekeeper Guy Barnes said he and staff felt “stressed and emotional” by the theft, which would’ve required specialised equipment and know-how. He added that he cannot see how anyone other than another beekeeper could have been responsible.

He said: “It might have been for the money, but I don’t know. Unfortunately, my gut feeling is it’s another keeper.

“You’d need to know what time of day to get them, have multiple people, and have a vehicle big enough to transport them.

“They are such an important part of our local ecosystem. For beekeepers, it’s a labour of love and it’s ten years’ work.

“I got the devastating call on Sunday morning, and photos of this pair of tracks going into the field and just empty sites where all these hives were.”

Sergeant Steve Applewhite, also a beekeeper, said: “We have been told that some bees have returned to the site where the hives were, before being stolen; this means that it is likely that these hives have been initially relocated or stored only a few miles away from Tresillian House.

“It would also take quite a large vehicle to carry a cargo of this considerable weight and it would be incredibly difficult to handle and carry alone.

“It is a well-used road so it is very likely that passing drivers may have seen suspicious people or the vehicle carrying the hives.

“This crime is of concern as not only has it meant that a person’s property has been stolen, but as a beekeeper myself, I am also concerned for the welfare of the stolen bees.

“We are appealing for witnesses and asking for anyone who was in the area late Saturday and into Sunday to report anything of note. We are also asking for our public to check [closed-circuit television] and road users to check dash cams in case they have captured anything of note.”

With the bees suspected of being stolen by a rival beekeeper nearby, police are said to be following the evidence – a steady stream of bees making a beeline for home.

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Written by

Peter McLaren-Kennedy

Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at