CARLISLE, Pa. — Tens of thousands of bees were stolen from a grocery store chain’s headquarters in Cumberland County.
Giant Company reported that three beehives containing 60,000 bees were taken from its corporate headquarters in Carlisle.
The hives were installed in June 2020 as part of Giant’s seven-acre pollinator-friendly solar field.
Middlesex Township Police suspect whoever stole the bees parked a vehicle in the grass off Harrisburg Pike in order to load up the beehives.
“Unfortunately it is a big problem and unfortunately they’re being stolen by other beekeepers normally. There’s just no respect for your fellow man,” said Gary Carns, president of the Capital Area Beekeepers Association (CABA) and owner of Carns Bee Farm.
Carns owns and operates 300 colonies of honeybees, selling their honey and renting them as pollinators. He said the hive equipment stolen from Giant could be worth around $500, excluding the bees themselves.
“A colony could easily be worth $1,000,” he said.
The thief or thieves likely chose to steal the bees during the winter and at night, Carns said, because bees become less active in colder temperatures.
“They knew that they weren’t flying this time of year, picked them up and off they went with them,” he said.
Carns suggests beekeepers take security measures like putting a fence around their hives or marking honey frame with their name or logo.
“To cut down on theft, if you see someone messing with beehives that you don’t think should be there, call somebody,” Carns said.
Giant said they plan to replace the hives.
Middlesex Township Police ask anyone with information to call (717) 249-7191.