Two Boys Arrested For Killing Half A Million Bees


Robin Andrews

Science & Policy Writer

A honeybee carrying pollen in a pollen basket. Muhammad Mahdi Karim/Wikimedia Commons; GFDL 1.2

Right at the end of 2017, the owners of a small honey business in Sioux City, Iowa, found that their 50 hives had been annihilated by some unknown party. Not only did this cost them tens of thousands of dollars in damages, but the half a million bees that used to live in those hives quickly succumbed to the structural collapse and exposure to the winter air.

Now, as reported by the Sioux City Journal, it appears that the police have arrested two people in connection with the vandalism: two boys, aged 12 and 13. They’ve been charged with criminal mischief in the first degree, as well as agricultural animal facilities offenses – a rare offense – and burglary in the third degree.


No motive for the criminal act has been identified at present. In the meantime, the business has seen an influx of funds from crowdfunding campaigns, which has allowed them to keep their business afloat.

We share this planet with around a trillion different species, but we hardly play fair. In 2018, despite being aware of what we’re doing and how we’ll reap the whirlwind down the line, we still engage in the destruction of ecosystems across the globe.

Far from being planetary vandals, though, humans seem to have it in them to be rather unpleasant on a small scale too.


Honeybees, for one, have had a particularly rough time as of late. Whether it’s being accidentally wiped out as part of a disease eradication initiative, or it’s the overuse of neonicotinoids – a class of pesticides that increases their vulnerability to the varroa mite parasite – honeybee numbers were, for some time, plummeting.


Their numbers, at least in the US, have been recovering over the last couple of years, but this trend could easily reverse. In any case, the last thing they need is malevolent juveniles destroying the homes we’ve built for them.

This isn’t even an isolated case. As reported by SFGate, a maniac in Prunedale, California, knocked over 100 beehives and sprayed thousands of honeybees with gasoline just this week. All in all, 200,000 honeybees died, and the damages came to a total of $50,000.

It’s thought that the assailant did this because his family were frightened by the bees going about their daily, pollen-collecting business. At present, no arrests have been made.

[H/T: Sioux City Journal via BBC News]


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