Someone Stole 60,000 Bees from a Pennsylvania Supermarket Chain

A spokesperson for the Giant Company said they are "extremely disappointed" by the recent beehive theft.

Worker bees on a honeycomb
Photo: Science Photo Library / Getty Images

In the summer of 2020, the Giant Company, which operates 190 supermarkets under the Giant name, announced the completion of a seven-acre pollinator-friendly field at its Carlisle, Pennsylvania headquarters. In addition to planting more than 20 different kinds of wildflowers, the company also partnered with the Planet Bee Foundation to add and maintain several beehives in the field.

"From almonds to zucchini and countless fruits, vegetables and nuts in between, nearly one-third of our food supply depends on pollinators, making bees an essential part of our food supply chain and ecosystem," the Giant Company's president Nicholas Bertram, said at the time. "A pollinator field provides us with a unique opportunity to educate our team members, customers and the community about the crucial role bees play in getting food onto their family's table."

But apparently, that field attracted at least one unwanted species: the thief or thieves who stole three entire beehives from Giant's property. According to PennLive, the hives held around 60,000 bees and were taken at some point during the weekend of January 28 and January 30.

"Bees are an essential part of our food supply chain and having these beehives were one way we were helping to address the declining bee population here in our hometown community," Jessica Groves, Giant's community impact manager, said in a statement. "We are extremely disappointed that this happened and are continuing to cooperate with Middlesex Township Police Department."

Bee thefts aren't completely unheard of: in 2020, California's almond growers — which rely on honeybees' natural pollination skills — reported an increase in the number of beehives that had been stolen from their properties. According to the California Farm Bureau's AgAlert, one million acres of almond blossoms require twice as many apiaries. As a result, up to two-thirds of the beekeepers in the U.S. lease their hives to almond farmers annually.

In January 2020, 92 hives were stolen from a single field in Yuba City, California. "We work hard enough all year to keep [the bees] alive. Then one guy comes around and steals them," beekeeper and theft victim Mike Potts told the Los Angeles Times.

Why would someone steal beehives? It's possible that they could be taken and sold off to other farmers or beekeepers who either need additional colonies or who need to make up population numbers after their own bees have died.

Back in Pennsylvania, anyone who has information about the theft of the colonies from Giant is asked to call the Middlesex Township Police Department at 717-249-7191 or to send an anonymous tip online.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles