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This is not fake news.

Jillian Kramer
March 16, 2017

Forget guns and drugs: the organized crime syndicates of New Zealand are stealing bees and their hives, capitalizing on ever-increasing honey prices, according to The Telegraph.

According to police reports, crime lords committed some 400 bee and hive heists in the six months leading up to January. Unfortunately, additional months' stats weren't provided to the newspaper for comparison. But police and beekeepers alike swear there's a spike, and that organized crime is to blame for the stealing spree.

"There is nothing to suggest at this stage that beehive [and] honey theft is directly linked with a particular gang, but we do believe this offending is organized and likely being carried out by groups," a senior sergeant with the New Zealand Police told The Telegraph.

The price of honey in New Zealand has been rising for years. In fact, according to Reuters, it's tripled in value since 2012. Demand is also steady for the product. And the combination of rising prices and demand seems too sweet for organized crime syndicates to resist.

"Honey is overpriced mate, it's ludicrous," Bruce Robertson, managing director of Haines Apiaries, told the paper. "There's easy money being made if you buy and sell hives."

In fact, a single beehive can fetch as much as 2,000 New Zealand dollars, or about $1,400.

The increased thefts have caused beekeepers like Robertson to beef up their security. After he discovered that one or two of his 3,000 beehives went missing each week, Robertson spent about 5,000 New Zealand dollars increasing his own security measures.

For their part, police say they are working hand-in-hand with Apiculture New Zealand and the country's Ministry for Primary Industries to "improve investigative techniques and to develop a database for tracking hive movements around the country," the paper reports. With any luck, organized crime syndicates could soon find themselves in a sticky situation.