back to article Oh honey! Oxfordshire abuzz with reports of a MEEELLION bees stolen

The cops have been called in to investigate a major bee heist after 40 hives were reported stolen from an Oxfordshire farm. The thieves made away with about one million bees, which is likely to make it the biggest theft of its kind. According to The Times, Brackley-based Beekeeper Honey had 40 hives, each weighing 20kg, taken …

  1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    Should be no difficulty identifying the stolen bees

    They're all barcoded.

    Yes, I have done this joke beefore. Better give me the one with the beekeeper's hat attached, thanks.

    1. Little Mouse Silver badge

      Joke #2:

      What kind of bees give milk?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Joke #2:

        Cowbees. I've heard that one beefore.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If they get them back it'll be Apidae's

    1. macjules

      I guess the thieves think they have gotten away with it, Apidae's

      Perhaps the police should launch a sting operation to catch the thieves? Shouldn't bee too hard to smoke them out.

      1. wallaby

        they should bee-hive themselves

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Probably just some kids doing it for the buzz

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        I changed it because I beelieved the edit was better.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Probably simpler to set up a honey trap operatrion ... though that can end up with a sticky situation

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          If the bees start to get angry they'll need to call for the SWAT team

  3. Oh Homer

    I'm surprised this doesn't happen more often

    Thanks to biotech gangsters like Monsanto decimating the bee population with its toxic garbage, there's a shortage of bees that has long past the critical level.

    1. Jemma

      Re: I'm surprised this doesn't happen more often

      For the fifty millionth time. Stop. Blaming. Monsanto.

      It's not Monsanto product that causes the problem - it's the generics that have crappy formulation control, and probably a fair percentage of farmers who couldn't calculate a /ph rate if their life depended on it.

      There are two formulations that don't noticeably harm bees - Monsanto's and a used to be generic from eastern Europe somewhere that is now Monsantos factory for making the stuff.

      It's the same problem as with 2,4D and dioxin. Make 2,4D properly and the dioxin level will be miniscule - contract it out to sub average cretins like the US military did in Vietnam and dioxin goes through the roof and babies get born looking like something out of a Steven King novel..

      Oh and for the record if Glyphosate is banned I hope you like blackgrass flavoured bread because the only way to control it and other weeds... Is Glyphosate or 3x the active of other herbicides - really great for the environment.

      Funny story - fluffy brained eco-whinger was sitting in a meeting at an agrochemical company, howling about how a cat had died that just *might* possibly have eaten birds contaminated with glyphosate - and how it had to be banned at once.. So one of the people there asked for her car keys and she handed them over confused. Then asked why? Well cars kill a damn sight more cats than glyphosate ever could - so enjoy your walk home. The point was duly made.

      Im not advocating slathering the countryside in agrochemical and there is not a single farmer who would either but which do you want - one application of a herbicide that works - or three applications of one that probably won't with all the extra pollution, soil damage, waste of diesel, waste of resources etc etc.

      Oh and before you even draw breath to blame the farmers - be aware that if all of you didn't want perfect food at bankruptcy (not to mention suicide) inducing prices and are busy supporting the RSPB and other cretin-collectives buying up excellent arable land and then promptly either flooding the f*cking lot or covering it on trees there would be less need for agrochemicals and fertilisers because there'd be more land to go round.

      And a friendly warning - be careful who you spout this crap to in future because you might find that a steel toecap in the teeth often offends.

      1. Jemma

        Re: I'm surprised this doesn't happen more often


        Dioxin is a contaminant of 2,4,5T which was mixed with 2,4D 50/50 to make Agent Orange. So called because it came in orange drums.

      2. Jemma

        Re: I'm surprised this doesn't happen more often

        Wow. 4 downvotes. Ill educated cockwombles for the win. Still why would we want knowledge or facts to get in the way of greentardery - that's OK..

        "And when food prices climb 30% in a cycle of seasons and those of the Volt whine louder than their chariots; a great chorus will rise upon the land, as if a million voices rose in derision "we told you so..". And the farmer will pour his not-carcinogens into the tank for the third time.. Saying "it is done, and so will you little idiots be if'n I get hold of you.." ".

        You, um, do of course know there are other pollinators kicking around out there? You didn't? Well color me surprised.

        1. Adam 52 Silver badge

          Re: I'm surprised this doesn't happen more often

          "Oh and for the record if Glyphosate is banned I hope you like blackgrass flavoured bread because the only way to control it and other weeds"

          This is wrong. I give you Duchy Originals Sunflower and Honey loaf as exhibit A.

          And this:

          " a steel toecap in the teeth often offends."

          Would probably explain the downvotes.

          "You, um, do of course know there are other pollinators kicking around out there? "

          There are, but they aren't nearly as effective (individually a bumblebee might be, but they don't come in large numbers). Or portable. And they don't produce a marketable by product, so are less economically viable. And attracting them takes up land.

      3. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge

        Re: I'm surprised this doesn't happen more often

        You must be new here Jemma.

      4. Henry Hallan

        Re: I'm surprised this doesn't happen more often

        The issue isn't glyphosates that are the problem, it's neonicotinoids. In other words, insecticides not herbicides.

        Beekeepers don't want to take away your RoundUp. Calm down, eh?

        Now you've calmed down, Monsanto still produce neonicotinoid insecticides, so they certainly do share the blame. But we still don't want to take away your RoundUp.

  4. Christoph

    A million bees?

    That's two million Erics!

  5. FlossyThePig

    Who keeps bees?

    Manton added that moving the hives would have been "quite an operation" and should have required some skill, especially as it was likely to have angered the bees.

    It's best to move hives at night when it's dark and they are all, metaphorically, tucked up in bed. Just block the entrance hole, lift hive, but in back of van or lorry, at destination do actions in reverse.

    That's what I did when helping my dad (many years ago) but he only had half a dozen hives. Didn't even need to wear special clothes.

    1. Jemma

      Re: Who keeps bees?

      Also helps with keeping the hives cool. If they get too hot while sealed for transport whole hives can die. Not to mention be somewhat annoyed when they are unloaded at the other end if they're a little too warm.

  6. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    The thieves made away with about one million bees

    Just think of the victim's lost bees knees.

  7. Kugutsu

    As a beekeeper, the insistence on reporting using numbers of individual bees is really annoying. Counting individual bees is meaningless and sensationalist, as the number of bees in a colony varies hugely over the course of a year (anywhere between 10 000 and 100 000+).

    Also, there seems to be some confusion between the number of colonies, and the apiary which contains them. You seem to be describing an apiary containing 40 colonies. The entire apiary might produce half a ton of honey (1200 lbs = 544 kg), but a single colony almost certainly wouldn't... Though if they are only producing about 14 kg per hive then they are probably not very good beekeepers, and almost certainly have a local overpopulation problem (40 colonies in a single apiary is a LOT, given they will all be foraging in the same 3 mile radius circle...).

    Just my 2 cents, I'll buzz off now...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Agreed - that's a lot of colonies in one location. They may be breeding for sale or it could be insurance enhanced counting.

      1. Andy The Hat Silver badge

        We always used to pull them into one location for the winter. In the spring hives were distributed accordingly onto whatever crops were available and who was paying - standard bee farming technique. 40 hives overwintering in one location is nothing unusual ...

  8. tony2heads

    Codename for investigation

    The Sting

  9. Notas Badoff

    Bees with ...

    Everybody was so intrigued with "sharks with lasers!" I think bees with tasers give one Napoleonic visions. Want to suppress unruly protestors? "Eek, it's a be-ZzzZz!" Who needs armies, with dispatchable Bee-nadoes? Just think how nice the Kremlin would be turned into an apiary. Want to keep everything monitored? Send out the drones. Keep the population happy with Miellent yellow. Humm-ha-ha-ha!

    1. ArrZarr Silver badge

      Re: Bees with ...

      I like what you've got with the Bee-nadoes but personally I feel that "Beericane" would be the name of the film.

      That being said, expanding the scope of the disaster, there is also potential with "The Beeteor"

      1. Stoneshop

        Re: Bees with ...

        but personally I feel that "Beericane" would be the name of the film

        I expect a lot of people to misinterpret that.

      2. ArrZarr Silver badge

        Re: Bees with ...

        Movie poster reads:

        You've all seen the Apocalypse but what comes after?

        The Beepocalypse, coming soon to a theatre near you.

    2. Mark 85

      Re: Bees with ...

      Bees with lasers. .I guess that beats cows with guns? But bees don't have video yet...

  10. Sgt_Oddball


    Any mention of what sort of bees where taken? Are they African or European type bees for example (since the former tends to be somewhat more aggressive, angrily so...) ?

    Also does this mean that the hives are going to have to start being GPS tracked ?

    1. Jemma

      Re: Beesmode

      Much more likely to be either European type or possibly a high F hybrid between European and African. It turns out that while F1 strains between European and African bees are still aggressive to the point of psychotic; the further you breed to European bees the calmer the resulting hives while still having a higher yield.

      Kind of depressing to think that one berk removing the queen control frames (don't remember the terminology) caused all this trouble - and he didn't even get the blame.

    2. Stoneshop

      Re: Beesmode

      Are they African or European type bees for example

      Just check how many are needed to lift a coconut.

  11. TRT Silver badge

    I think someone...

    just wanted to control their heating from their phone.

    1. Swarthy

      Re: I think someone...

      Using a Zig-bee interface?

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: I think someone...


  12. AndrueC Silver badge

    If they are 'Brackley based' why does it involve Thames Valley police?

    I live in Brackley and it most definitely is not in Oxfordshire. Northants Police should be the ones dealing with it.

    I will say that 'Northamptonshire Honey' is very, very nice.

    1. Adam 52 Silver badge

      According to other reports the hives were stolen from near Bicester.

  13. jake Silver badge

    They will probably be caught shortly.

    It's not like there are a lot of people who suddenly acquire 40 populated hives ... and bee keepers tend to be a fairly tight-knit community (in he US, anyway). I had half a dozen hives stolen a couple years ago. I put the word out, and two mornings later a guy from Woodland (~60 miles away) called me with a lead. I had my hives back that evening, with the perp in jail.

    Hint: Serialize all capital equipment. I also use a brand with my logo (on the wood, not the bees!) ... and I know what colo(u)r I use to mark each queen. Logo+numbers+queen's dot colo(u)r was good enough for the Yolo County Sheriff to allow me to take custody ... he only had me open one of the hives (I wonder why).

  14. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    Netflix: Rotten

    Informative epsode on the above about bees/honey and bee stealing.

  15. Oengus


    I am surprised no one has come up with this yet...

    It was the Drones

  16. Johnny Canuck

    I also use a brand with my logo

    I just had an image in my mind of lots of "beeboys" running around with tiny lassos (lassoes?) roping bees and branding their butts with little brands.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: I also use a brand with my logo

      Exactly why I decided to clarify :-)

      This round's on me. Mead, of course.

    2. Scroticus Canis

      Re: I also use a brand with my logo - @Johnny Canuck

      What exactly have you been using in your bee hive smoker?

  17. jake Silver badge

    Seems there might be a beekeeper or three reading ElReg ...

    ... Any of you lot tried the Flow Hive yet? First impressions? I know they've only been on the market for a short time ... and "if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is" is a maxim in pretty much every field. Obviously, keeping an eye on the health of the hive from a couple windows to the outside is iffy, at best ... any other pros/cons?

    I've got 4 of these on order ... I personally probably won't replace my existing hives with them any time soon, but I could probably triple my output practically overnight by placing one of these boxes in each of several dozen gardens in the Sonoma Valley. A couple of private schools have shown an interest, too.

    1. Kugutsu

      Re: Seems there might be a beekeeper or three reading ElReg ...

      I haven't, but then I'm a teacher who keep bees at school for mostly educational purposes. I have students manipulating the hives almost weekly from March through September, with the goal of understanding how the whole system functions, and for them to learn how to actually be beekeepers, rather than just keep bees... As a result, honey yield isn't really my priority (though we still tend to get about 40 kg per hive per year on average).

      I do keep getting sent links to the flow hive by everyone who knows me, but I am a little skeptical about the whole thing. It seems to me like a good way to make a right mess of a beehive, and ripe honey shouldn't flow that easily in any case... I'm still waiting for someone I know and trust to try it and give me a genuine report on how functional it is :P

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Will the know if they get them all back with none missing?

    Talk to these guys.

  19. traceyfields

    so why is it

    that we never get a comment from amanfrommars on important topics liker this?

    isn't apiary an inter-planetary issue? what are the martians not telling us?

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