Who Is Deliberately Killing the Bees…and Why?

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Last night, my husband attended our beekeeping association meeting. He was looking forward to it all day. Talking with other “bee people” is exciting, chatting about the upcoming spring, opening up the hives after winter, installing new bees, etc. I couldn’t wait for him to come home to with new beekeeping ideas and to see his face light up as he waxed poetic about beekeeping.

Only, that didn’t happen. Instead, he brought back a story that chilled me to my bones about someone deliberately killing the bees just a few towns away from us in Rehoboth, MA.

Just Another Accidental Spraying?

We read about the bee deaths when it happened. Early reports seemed to suggest this was yet another case of farmers in the vicinity being irresponsible with chemicals. That may have been what investigators originally suspected, as hypothesized by Eric Pilotte, the president of the Bristol County Beekeepers Association. In this interview, Pilotte spoke of how bees can forage up to three miles away and may have brought back poisoned pollen and nectar to the hive.

“All indications are it was some type of pesticide or insecticide that’s the culprit,” Pilotte said. “In this case, they were able to bring back some of those contaminants and I think that’s what spread like wildfire through the hive.”

Fellow association member, entomologist and retired superintendent of the Bristol County Mosquito Control Project, Wayne Andrews, thought it had to have happened “closer to home“.

Andrews said bees can fly as far as three or four miles in search of food and water but he suspects the Rehoboth bees consumed the poison closer to home, likely no more than a mile away.

In another article on this bee killing, the state was called in to investigate.

Andrews, a beekeeper for four decades who has had his own hives killed by neighbors spraying, called in the state Department of Agricultural Resources, which sent an inspector Friday morning who took samples to test for pesticides.

But, that is where the news reports ended. As far as we knew, it was probably a neighboring farmer spraying, the state was going to investigate, and the story is out of the media.

What the News Didn’t Cover

Last night’s meeting was all “a-buzz” (ok, that was bad) with what the news did not report. There was no follow-up to make sure it really was just a farmer spraying recklessly, and not something else more sinister.

It turns out, that when the state investigated and got the lab results back, things were not as expected. Instead of giving the beekeeper the results over the phone, an in-person meeting was held where authorities had to ask him the uncomfortable question, “Do you have any enemies?”

Lab results came back so high for the active ingredient in Frontline (fipronil), that it had to be a case of someone deliberately killing the bees.

Who even does that? In a day and age where bees are threatened by agricultural chemicals linked to Colony Collapse Disorder and from pests like the varroa mite, why would anyone intentionally destroy thousands of bees?

Out of Town Trucks and Backpack Sprayers

Here is where things get weird.

At the meeting, reports surfaced of multiple pickup trucks with out-of-state license plates being seen in and around town around the time this bee-killing happened. None of these trucks had signage or company logos, so who knows who hired them.

The men driving them were observed together at a local diner/coffee shop. They would meet there, eat, and then go about their days. In a small town like this, you know almost everyone. They were not known by anyone.

There were backpack sprayers seen in the beds of the trucks.

It’s not exactly like Rehoboth, MA is a travel hub providing a convenient stopping off point for other destinations. Rehoboth is off the beaten path. It’s a rural/suburban town with loads of small, family farms. Most of them grow corn, which is regularly sprayed with imidacloprid. Imidacloprid is a type of neonicotinoid. Neonicotinoids are believed to be linked, if not the cause, of Colony Collapse Disorder.  Both neonicotinoids and fipronil do systemic damage to bees and butterflies.

How much of a coincidence is it that these out-of-state vehicles with backpack sprayers were seen in this sleepy town right before the bee kills? Might they have been spraying fipronil? If so, for who? And why?

It’s conceivable. Fipronil is marketed to kill fleas and ticks. New England is tick country. Some of the farms may have hired workers to spray their properties to cut down on ticks. But, the lab results indicated the concentration of fipronil was too high to be accidental.

Who were they? Who hired them? What were they supposed to spray? Could they have sprayed for ticks, and wandered onto the beekeeper’s property? Or were they directed to spray the hives specifically by a neighbor who is afraid of bees?

We still don’t know, and probably never will.

But This Isn’t the Only Case of Bee Hive Vandalism

As a beekeeper, reports of vandals destroying beehives always cuts me to the core. Not only is there a huge loss of bee-life, but there is a loss of income as well. Insurance companies do not offer beehive insurance, and beekeeping families take the financial hit.

Two cases of bee-yard vandalism have made headlines just this past month. The first, in Iowa, two teenage boys were charged with toppling over an entire bee-yard worth of hives, killing a half a million bees. These thoughtless teens nearly destroyed Justin and Tori Engleheart’s apiary business, Wild Hill Honey. Thankfully, their local community set up a GoFundMe campaign to save their family business.

The second case was in California. Over 200,000 bees were killed while wintering-over in Prunedale, CA. Someone entered Mike Hickenbottom’s property and tipped over each of 100 hives. Then, this person or persons poured diesel fuel on the hives and lit them on fire. The bees belonged to beekeeper Alfonzo Perez. He provides hives for pollination services to almond tree farms. With a new baby on the way, Perez will be missing a large chunk of his family’s income.

This case bothers me. For someone to go to the length of dousing the hives with fuel and then burning them, this wasn’t just an average case of vandalism. It is most definitely criminal. There is no mistaking this attack was intentional. In that way, it reminds me of the Rehoboth case.

The Rehoboth case didn’t make national news. The Prunedale case barely made the news. I have to wonder how many more stories of beekeeping vandalism and people deliberately killing the bees are going on around the US that we don’t know about.

Why Is This Important?

Preppers talk about food shortages and being ready for economic collapse or a societal collapse. A bee collapse would bring the entire system to its knees.

Honeybees are not native to the United States. Colonists brought bees over when they settled these lands. And we still depend upon honeybees to pollinate our food.

If bees were to fail below a critical level, and farms did not get pollination services, we would see a dramatic decrease in our produce, grains, nuts, and meats (since they come from livestock fed a diet predominantly of grains). You can bet this would cause food prices to rise, as well as public panic and food shortages.

Otherwise, the alternative is hand pollination. Check out this town in China that has to hand pollinate their fruit trees. It’s possible but far less efficient. Nothing pollinates like a honeybee.

What You Can Do

I’m a huge believer in keeping bees for preparedness. You can use the honey in baking, as well as making herbal remedies, like herbal syrups as well as in packing a wound. Here are a few things you can do to protect honeybees in your neck of the woods:

  • Keep bees! It’s really rewarding (as long as you aren’t allergic)
  • Keep a trail cam on those hives. You never know when someone or something will destroy your hive.
  • Grow flowers – I know, food is important. But, growing flowers will attract helpful bees to your yard for a bigger harvest.
  • Grow organically. Bees can only handle being exposed to so many chemicals a little while before it impacts them.
  • Talk to your neighbors and pet owners about neonicotinoids and their danger to bees.
  • If you see something odd, like someone spraying near your property without identification, or someone unknown walking onto a neighbor’s property, report it.
  • If you can’t keep bees, buy honey from a local beekeeper. It’s so much better than the mass-produced stuff. Plus, you’ll want a local source in case of shipping interruptions.

What do you think?

Do you think there’s something nefarious about these mass bee killings? Do you think it’s a trend that will continue? Have you heard any similar stories in your area? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

Why are people deliberately killing the bees in a variety of locations across the country?

Cat Ellis

Cat Ellis

Cat Ellis is an herbalist,  massage therapist, midwifery student, and urban homesteader from New England. She keeps bees, loves gardening and canning, and practice time at the range. She teaches herbal skills on her website, Herbal Prepper. Cat is a member of the American Herbalists Guild, and the author of two books, Prepper’s Natural Medicine and Prepping for a Pandemic.

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  • A perfect retribution would be when the culprit is caught, turn him into a Eunuch then tie him to a chair put a queen in her little box around his neck, the let the bees have their way with him.

  • An expose on the food industry specific to the honey business is on Netflix:Rotten. Very interesting. It seems to me there would be a billion dollar vested interest in destroying the US production of honey not to mention all of the other important food that comes as a direct result of pollination.

  • I am from Rehoboth, this was quite the talking point in town when it happened. I never heard about the lab results coming back as high concentrations of frontline though. My guess is that it was some pissed off neighbor, the yuppies have been invading this farm town for more than a decade now.

  • Did you ever consider Chem-trail poisoning as well. My locality has been hammered by chem-trails over the past 90 days.
    Kill the bees and you starve the people. Read the Georgia Guidestones to understand my meaning.

  • I have been a commercial beekeeper for nearly 50 years. Also 30 years as a certified pesticide applicator with LOTS of mandatory follow-up training (about 20 hours per year). Also spent numerous hours at various USDA/ARS labs recieving training in beekeeping nearly every year, as well as attending numerous other classes/seminars and lectures, so I do not consider myself to be uninformed. Also for an additional 20 years to some degree actively cooperated with
    the land grant university and USDA with various research projects. I am not any newcomer or armchair scientist. I have LOTS of credentials.
    Pesticide damage was only sporatic in the early days, 1970-1990’s Now it is commonplace to have hives perish or decline from chemical use/misuse. NO place is safe. The “newer” classes of chemicals, neonics included have a far greater toxicity than the older classes of chemicals. I first documented “a” problem about 20 years ago and requested the land grant university and apiculturist there to assist. “No funding”. This happened to not only my colonies, but to all of my beekeeping friends and neighbors, (other commercial pollinators). We were suffering losses far above the sustainable level. Then, out of the clear blue sky we were told it was CCD. (colony collapse disorder). That was about 2004 (+/_ maybe?) Pesticide damage was the obvious cause.
    The “Big Pharma” chemical companies are the folks that provide the $$$ for research, and they also are political campaign contributors. I am sure I sound like some kind of conspiracy theorist, but follow the $…

  • They want people off the land so that it can return to wilderness. About 65 million people will be cherry picked to live in urban prisons. See Agenda 21 or 50, or whatever they are now calling it now.

  • Yes this is criminal! Murder of human beings by deliberating destroying bees who pollinate our food we need to eat and live. These people doing this need to be caught prosecuted to the full extent of the law. They are dangerous and Chem trailing is another cause and needs to be stopped asap! We live in a very insane world!

  • GMO seeds use wood sucrose instead of sugar sucrose. Which gets bees lungs and cannot be broken down. The wood sucrose which is a pollemer turns in fungus which destroys bees lungs killing the bees.

  • I’d spray the ‘back packers’ w/red dye & tar & feather them (bust their heads) & stuff there bungs w/stingers

  • Who Is Deliberately Killing the Bees…and Why? https://www.theorganicprepper.com/who-is-killing-the-bees/ 2 Boys Arrested After Vandalism That Killed 500,000 Bees On Iowa Honey Farm https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/iowa-boys-busted-bee-vandalism_us_5a616da8e4b0125fd6355993
    I have compiled this info Control the Food and Oil and you Control the People, BEES POLLINATE and ARE Being KILLED,
    Truck CRASHES?? See Below!This is Not the First time, but Many times Not a Coincidence
    READ these http://www.foxnews.com/us/2017/11/04/1-million-bees-euthanized-after-california-truck-crash.html
    Sept. 29, 2015) Big Rig
    Overturns, Dumping Millions of Bees Onto Interstate 35 in Oklahoma https://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/Big-Rig-Overturns-Dumping-Millions-of-Bees-Onto-I-35-330025581.html April 17, 2015 |Millions of bees
    loose after truck overturns on interstate https://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/Big-Rig-Overturns-Dumping-Millions-of-Bees-Onto-I-35-330025581.html
    25926117/ http://www.kansascity.com/news/local/article99539297.html
    September 12, 2015 Truck
    overturns releasing thousands of bees on Turkey highway https://www.washingtonpost.com/video/c/video/ee5aa61e-598e-11e5-9f54-1ea23f6e02f3 Northland is abuzz after semi carrying
    millions of bees overturns Tampa, Fla. http://www.kansascity.com/news/local/article99539297.html
    May 21, 2014
    Driver cited after truck crash frees millions of bees in Newark, Delaware http://6abc.com/traffic/driver-cited-after-truck-crash-frees-millions-of-bees-in-newark-delaware/70398/ https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2011/07/12/137798639/truck-crash-released-14-million-angry-bees-and-honey-on-highway
    Truck Crash Releases 14 Million Angry Bees, And Honey, On Highway California to Minot, N.D http://www.nytimes.com/1994/08/05/nyregion/the-terror-of-the-thruway-liberated-bees-go-berserk.html
    August 5, 1994 The Terror of the
    Thruway: Liberated Bees Go Berserk https://www.barstoolsports.com/…/if-youre-the-reporter-the…/ If
    You’re The Reporter They Send When a Truck Carrying 44 Million Bees Overturns, It Might Be Time
    To Find a New Job Seattle WA 14 Million Blueberry Pollination Bees Lost in a Semi-Truck 4/17/2015 https://www.andnowuknow.com/quick-dish/14-million-blueberry-pollination-bees-lost-semi-truck-overturn/christofer-oberst/45194
    http://www.wsoctv.com/…/multiple-vehicles-involve…/328501999 Truck hauling more than 400
    beehives involved in chain reaction crash on I-85 Jun 8, 2016 MECKLENBURG COUNTY, N.C. – http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/millions-of-bees-from-overturned-truck-get-nasty-as-they-re-moved-1.769109
    Millions of bees from overturned
    truck ‘get nasty’ as they’re move Jun 30, 2008 New Brunswick Canada http://wkrn.com/2016/03/07/escaped-bees-close-mt-juliet-road-after-tractor-trailer-crashes/
    Road reopens Tuesday after truck carrying 430 bee hives overturned in Mt. Juliet March 7, 2016,
    California is the first destination
    annually where two hives per acre are required to pollinate the 800,000 acres of almonds that flower in
    late winter. And Mendes is just one of approximately 900 beekeepers that supply the 1.6 million hives
    for the almonds. The bees stay in California for a month, then are shipped back to their home in
    Florida. http://www.southcoasttoday.com/arti…/20131124/LIFE/311240305 Bees Take Over Idaho Highway for the Second Time in a Week http://people.com/celebrity/two-different-trucks-carrying-bees-crash-in-idaho-in-one-week/
    Coeur d’Alene, Idaho In both cases the bees were traveling to Midwestern farms to help with
    pollination. June 29, 2015 May 6, 2016 Bees swarm I-80 after truck carrying hives crashes http://trib.com/news/state-and-regional/bees-swarm-i–after-truck-carrying-hives-crashes/article_4f006c03-186b-5b6c-8541-1479ef81b9f9.html
    25 May 2010 http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1281226/Truck-carrying-17million-bees-crashes-Minnesota.html Rescuers battle

    17million angry bees after flatbed trailer crashes in fatal U.S. accident
    Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook Semi crash carrying honey bees strangely
    reminiscent of 2003 accident in same location September 2, 2016 KANSAS CITY, Mo. Why So Many
    Crashes of Bee-Carrying Trucks? 255
    Posted by Unknown Lamer on Tuesday October 25, 2011 @04:02AM from the bees-are-good-people
    Hugh Pickens writes
    “Interstate 15 in southern Utah has been reopened and officials say 25 million bees that closed the road
    have been accounted for after a flatbed truck heading for California carrying 460 beehives overturned
    near a construction zone. The bees were on their way to Bakersfield, California for almond pollination
    next spring. ‘The driver lost control, hit the concrete barrier and rolled over,’ says Corporal Todd
    Johnson with the Utah Highway Patrol. ‘Of course we then had bees everywhere.’ But a similar incident
    happened in July, when 14 million bees, as well as a river of honey, flowed out of a wrecked semi in
    Idaho; and 17 million bees escaped a fatal truck crash in Minnesota last year. Why so many highway
    accidents involving bees? The uptick results from more and more honey bee colonies being transported
    around the country via highways in recent years. Local bee populations are rapidly dying off from a
    little-understood disease called ‘colony collapse disorder’: ‘The number of managed honey bee colonies
    [in the U.S.] has dropped from 5 million in the 1940s to only 2.5 million today,’ says the U.S.
    Department of Agriculture. Unfortunately, some honey bee scientists suspect that the rise of migratory
    beekeeping may be contributing to the species’ decline as transporting hives from farm to farm spreads
    pathogens to local bee populations.”
    1 million bees euthanized after California truck crash
    The death toll from a truck crash in Northern California on Thursday night was un-bee-lievable.
    foxnews.com 2009 Thousands of Bees Killed by Vandals in Florida https://ppjg.me/2009/02/16/thousands-of-bees-killed-by-vandals-in-florida/ 2018 Vandals suspected after 200,000 honeybees killed, 100 hives destroyed in California http://www.foxnews.com/us/2018/01/17/vandals-suspected-after-200000-honeybees-killed-100-hives-destroyed-in-california.html 2016 300,000 honey bees killed after vandals poison Sequim Bee Farm hives http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/news/sequim-bee-farm-hives-vandalized-no-leads-so-far/ Honey wars: crime and killings in New Zealand’s booming manuka industry An extraordinary rise in the popularity of manuka honey has led to mass poisonings of bees, thefts, vandalism and beatings Manuka honey has been recognised for its anti-bacterial and wound-healing properties for many years. … The manuka honey alone can inhibit cancer growth by 30 per cent, but when combined with chemotherapy, there was 61 per cent inhibition,” Dr Al Ramadi stressed.

    David Yanke, Dakel Apiaries, with his hives

    It was the day the bees died – tens of thousands of them in 300 hives, mysteriously killed.

    “The massacre”, as it is being called, happened in the otherwise idyllic landscape of Doubtless Bay in New Zealand’s far north 2015 Honeybees killed when vandals overturn hive http://www.mlive.com/news/ann-arbor/index.ssf/2015/05/vandalism_overturns_ypsi_bee_h.html 2016 Vandals kill 6,000 honey bees at Abberton Reservoir Nature Reserve http://www.gazette-news.co.uk/news/14315406.Vandals_kill_6_000_honey_bees_at_Abberton_Reservoir_Nature_Reserve/ 2016 Vandals Damage Tuscola County Bee Hives http://www.mix1063fm.com/vandals-damage-tuscola-county-bee-hives/ https://www.sheffieldtelegraph.co.uk/news/vandals-kill-bee-colonies-and-cause-thousands-of-pounds-of-damage-at-sheffield-apiary-1-7674645 2016 Vandals kill bee colonies and cause thousands of pounds of damage at Sheffield apiary 2015 Someone kills up to 250,000 bees used for honey in Lincolnshire http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20151117/news/151119017/

  • They don’t want people to be self sufficient in growing their own food.
    Bees are needed to pollinate. If their own organic veggies can’t produce then they are at the mercy of the corporate gov gmo suynthetic food for sustenance & hence have to be dependant on the govt. it’s really easy to see. This is a huge underhanded manipulation with plausible deniability. It’s the name if the game in our age of deception.
    I would be looking for the usual culprits… follow the money.
    Monsanto & co with contracts to the govt? Probably!!!

  • THIS should be paid attention too. We need the bees. If they are killing them on purpose this would be very bad for pollination. We need pollination, we like the honey.

  • Most Americans are going to die in what is coming. The elites don’t need us. They will kill us off the land. You could ask God, Americans, but you abandoned Him a long time ago. The initial nuke attack will take out many in one second. You have very little time to repent and turn to Jesus before the end.

  • I wonder, since this is a small New England town, if some developer is looking to get some cheap property? Pesticides will make people leave. Or if one of the local just moved in families from the big city dislike bees and are stealthfully killing them? People forget that the country offers a lot more than the big city-in all ways. Schools are not teaching anything about bees, and I add that to the list of failures in “government education.” And a lot of parents feel no obligation for the conduct of their children. Perhaps having some beekeepers offer some talks and maybe a hive “tour” would be beneficial. Such sad destruction of such important bugs!!

  • I think it should be a law that bee keepers within three miles of a spray should be given notice of intent to apply chemicals that could cause bee deaths. The hive owners can then choose to contain the bees until the most damaging effects wear off. Some types of sprays should be banned within three miles of anyone having above a certain number of hives. I also think this should be posted on sites like Facebook so more people can be aware of what is happening. Please know that many people very much appreciate bee keepers and want them to thrive along with their hives.

  • It occured to me a while back that since BigAg and chemical companies and their enablers seems determined to out-do Mother Nature and/or kill her that they must be working on a “solution” for the loss of Bees. Bee robots? Bee drones? The Crimes against Humanity and Nature continue.

  • Well, considering the dark deep state operating in this country to bring down America and bolster globalist agendas, it wouldn’t be a stretch for me to believe the intentional effort to decrease bee populations. There is multiple published evidences of the globalist goal to depopulate and control – what better way to do it other than through food. Monsanto and the GMO patents has nearly crippled our farmers to the point they can no longer produce seed cord. What happens when Monsanto rations their GMO seed? Yet all the while ignorant GreenPeace and other environmental terrorist groups push congress for regulations that support their agenda. It’s actually amazing with those two factors that farmers can continue to produce food.

  • I am shocked at the possibility that this threat to our bees may be a thing, add this to an ever-growing list of attacks on our country. Perpetrators of such a sick crime need to be identified and prosecuted under a special law perhaps that would fine and put them away for a substantial period (say, ten yrs. ?). Harm to agriculture is a national security / existential risk as it relates to food independence, so, this needs to taken seriously.

  • Do you suppose that the requirement for beekeepers imposed by many communities and states to register hives could exacerbate this problem? Either you risk becoming an easy target or running afoul of the law for noncompliance…

  • As a fellow beekeeper, who also happens to bee from Massachusetts, in the Worcester area, you should know that the top five staple foods corn, wheat, rice, soybeans and sorghum are wind pollinated. Not saying there won’t bee major disruptions in food supplies if, big if, honey bees were to go extinct, but there are also a lot more than just them that can pollinate. Besides, they’re not even the best at doing so. They try to hoard as much of the pollen for themselves. Mason, and leaf cutter bees are better at it, and rain or shine, they have to forage everyday since they don’t store food in their nests.

    What will really end up killing off the honeybees will bee the robotics companies. Once farming conglomerates are able to purchase fleets of reusable robots, they won’t have to keep renting ever increasingly more expensive pollinators year after year. Then they will bee able to spray all the pesticides they want, and never care about hurting anything.

  • This is just the most horrible stories to read about the poor bees. It breaks my heart and makes me really angry in the next minute. I would like to see the names of those caught and found guilty of doing any of these acts against the bees as well as the owners of the bees.

    This is a conspiracy against people with bees. Some powerful and sinister people do not want the bees to be allowed to do their wonderful jobs. Someone or many want our food growth to collapse and want our populations to collapse and any of a myriad of other malevolent actions to endure on this nation.

    The fact that one town has been so very well documented with a conspiracy against the bees we can only imagine that there are other towns where two and two haven’t been added together yet to have people realize that the bees have been targeted. Diligence needs to be done to network across the land to find a sinister pattern and find the culprit/s responsible and lock them up forever. They cannot ever be trusted to change their viewpoint when they are willing to destroy a species so vital to this land and its crop production.

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