Apiculture New Zealand and New Zealand Police are now working together to find solutions to the growing problem of beehive thefts.

The issue has escalated to the point that a co-ordinated, nationwide solution must be found, Apiculture NZ chief executive, Daniel Paul, said.

“We are discussing ways in which we can, with the assistance of Police mount a planned, managed and sustained programme to combat this problem.

“This will involve working together to gather better intelligence about thefts and how stolen hives are processed, and to monitor hive movements more proactively.

“We also want to establish a central database to ensure that information about thefts and the people and organisations behind those thefts is shared more efficiently.”

New Zealand Police Coordinator of Community Policing, senior sergeant Alasdair Macmillan says the issue is costing apiarists millions of dollars each year.

“We do not believe this is just a few individuals but it is potentially criminal activity occurring on a much wider scale.

“Hopefully this co-ordinated response will prevent more beekeepers from becoming victims, and will improve the intel we have on these offenders.”

Mr Macmillan says the public can assist with preventing these thefts, which are particularly common in Northland and the central North Island.

“It’s common for these thieves to shift the hives in small utes or trailers in rural areas. Even if people are not directly involved in the beehive industry, they can still help.

“If you see suspicious looking vehicles carrying beehives, report it to Police. If you can’t call us immediately, then make a note of the registration number and description of the vehicle to report to us as soon as you can.”

Apiculture New Zealand is the peak body representing the beekeeping and honey products industry.  Its members include some of the biggest beekeeping companies in New Zealand, many of which are major producers and exporters of high value manuka honey.

“All our major commercial members and even many non-commercial, hobbyist beekeepers are concerned about the growing trend of beehive thefts and we will be putting considerable effort into initiatives that will help beekeepers keep their hives safe,” Mr Paul said.

For more information contact Daniel Paul (021) 400-993 and Josie Cochrane at the Police Media Centre – 04 238 5111.