Early on Saturday morning, a sheriff’s deputy spotted several bee boxes on fire. Upon closer inspection, other boxes were found tossed into a pond nearby. One of the site’s beekeepers said the losses were shocking, estimating “500,000 to 600,000” bees were killed as the beehives were burned, removing them from the environment.
The incident took place in Alvin, Texas – a town just to the south of Houston. A Brazoria County Sheriff’s deputy initially discovered the destruction after spotting several burning bee boxes.
“We’re looking at 500,000 to 600,000 (bees) that have been destroyed out of that environment,” said Steve Brackmann, a beekeeping supplies and queen bee seller, according to a report by CNN.
“Its bad enough to think in today’s world this would happen but dumping them over and then setting fire to them is beyond comprehension,” said the Brazoria County Beekeepers Association – an organization that owned 24 of the colonies at the site – in a Facebook post.
“Club has offered a reward to lead to conviction and anyone with info please forward it to the sheriffs office.”
Brackmann noted that the loses have serious environmental consequences. Bee populations have been in decline, partially due to the use of insecticides. This leaves fewer bees for activities like crop pollination.
“Tomatoes, squash, watermelons, bees pollinate those,” said Brackmann. “So, if bees don’t pollinate those, you get zero vegetables, we would see next to nothing in the vegetable stores.”
Crime Stoppers in Brazoria County is offering up to a $5,000 reward for information about the incident. The beekeepers association is also offering a reward, in the amount of $1,000, and is requesting donations to help the organization recover from the event.