Thursday, August 2, 2012

Honey Bees stolen in Abbotsford

In-Times-Of-Exactness-and-Uncertainty by John Stark

     This week approximately $100,000 worth of bees and honey were stolen from an Abbotsford  beekeeper (60 km east of Vancouver).  The thief made off with 8,000 lbs (3600 kilograms) of honey and 500,000 bees.  According to Abbotsford police constable Ian MacDonald "Somebody went in there with the intention of not just stealing the bees and the hives, but also stealing them in such a way they could be integrated into an ongoing or existing operation."  "We're at a point in the calendar cycle where we're in a high yield for honey, so a novice wouldn't know this would be the best time to make such a theft," he said.  The thieves must have had a good understanding of beekeeping to manage the heist and would have needed specialized equipment and a large truck to transport the stolen goods, said MacDonald.  Similar large scale bee colony thefts have occurred this year in Alberta and New Zealand.  
     B.C's provincial apiculturist Paul van Westendorp said there have been other thefts in the province this year and added "Most [were] in the southern regions but these were mostly involving a small number of whole colonies. This Abbotsford report mentions the removal of frames with bees rather than the entire [population]. This is interesting because it obviously involves someone with beekeeping experience," said van Westendorp. "I recall identical types of thefts that were reported in the south Okanagan a few years ago which then suddenly stopped. The similarity is striking and one can't help but think that perhaps the same bee-keeper is involved."  He said his staff are now digging out old theft reports that "had an uncanny resemblance" to the Abbotsford theft.  The thief may be intending to transport the bees to Alberta for canola pollination which is underway. 
     This week at the community garden that I belong to there was a break-in of our two tool sheds resulting in a lot of damage and hundreds of dollars in tool theft.  Also, this week a friend and fellow gardener lost his battle with cancer.  A week earlier I had brought him to the garden for his last visit and in his extremely weakened condition he began weeding and tending to his plants.  He loved to garden and he loved bees.  This man lived his life with a selfless caring and compassion for others.  The selfish, destructive acts of these thieves makes me better appreciate the true goodness of my friend.  There must be a garden with bees in heaven. 

  From Kahlil Gibran ‘The Prophet’.   This piece of advice was part of the Prophet’s reply to a hermit amongst the crowd who said, ‘Speak to us of pleasure’.

Go to your fields and your gardens, and you shall learn that it is the pleasure
Of the bee to gather honey of the flower,
But it is also the pleasure of the flower to yield its honey to the bee
For to the bee a flower is a fountain of life,
And to the flower a bee is a messenger of love,
And to both, bee and flower, the giving and the receiving of pleasure is a need and not an ecstasy.
People of Orphalese, be in your pleasure like the flowers and the bees.

Adios my friend.


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