Unknown thieves have stolen several beehives on the island of Saaremaa. As of Monday this week, six beekeepers were affected. Whoever is taking the hives must be an expert at handling bees, they explained.
Hives were stolen in the area of the villages of Lümanda, Väike-Pahila, Püha-Kõnnu, Kahtla, and Metsaküla, local paper Saarte Hääl reported. The thieves took altogether 11 hives.
As beekeeper Ergo Oolup explained to the paper, beehives are most valuable just at this time in spring. Getting them now has the advantage that colonies coming out of the winter will yield honey the same year. Currently the price of a colony is between €150 and €250, with the cost of the hive still to add to the price.
According to the affected beekeepers in Saaremaa, whoever is stealing the hives has to be an expert at handling bees, as another hint that they know what they are doing is that they have been selecting large hives, for which they need to open the them and see how big a single queen's colony is by looking at the frames in the hive.
Beekeeping is common in the Estonian countryside, and selling honey an important added income for many people in the country's more remote areas. Estonians take their honey very seriously: even the president's official residence keeps a hive in its rose garden in Kadriorg. President Kersti Kaljulaid presented Queen Elizabeth II. with a jar when she met the British monarch on a recent state visit to the United Kingdom.
Editor: Dario Cavegn