Beekeepers fear vandals cost them thousands

ajc.com

The owners of a Bartow County, Georgia, bee farm say vandals killed thousands of bees and it could leave them with thousands of dollars in losses.

Mike Willingham and Kory Manon of Plan Bee Farms told Channel 2’s Matt Johnson they're still trying to figure out how many bees died.

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The men said they don’t think a wild animal may be to blame because only the first box in each row of hives was knocked over. They said if a bear were to blame, it would have ravaged through everything.

Plan Bee Farms in Cartersville is a two-man operation that distributes honey across metro Atlanta.

“It's got everything that's good,” Willingham told Johnson about the honey farm.

The men said business hit a snag Friday morning when they discovered seven boxes of bees knocked over, killing thousands of them.

“It's very discouraging to start a business, commercially, and someone thinks it’s funny to tear it up,” Manon told Johnson.

They say they called the Bartow County Sherriff’s Office and filed a report. Depending on how many bees were killed, the men said they could be out close to $3,000.

Willingham and Manon said they are confident the incident was not vandalism or the work of a hungry bear.

“It has in a straight line. Someone just kicked it, and kicked it, ran to the next one, kicked it and ran before they got attacked by the bees,” Manon told Johnson.

Now the two beekeepers say they will have to move the operation to a different location.

They said if teenagers are responsible they don't want to punish them, but rather put them to work for the summer.

“I wouldn’t want to see anything happen to them, I would like to see them sweat,” Manon said.

The beekeepers said each box had about 50,000 bees living inside, making them worth about $400 per box.

If prosecuted, the vandals could face felony charges.

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