Who stole the bees?

FRESNO, Calif.

"There's so many people that have gardens and flowers and flowering trees that are just good nectar for them."

Bee Keeper Hilton Osborne says that in exchange for the nectar the bees turn into honey, the bees have helped pollinate flowers and gardens for two miles in every direction. But, now, the bees are gone.

Osborne says in the last two weeks somebody drove onto this vacant land near Polk and Dakota and hauled off his hives.

"The 28 colonies represent about $6 to $8 thousand worth of loss, with the equipment, the bees and the honey inside."

Hilton has been raising bees for about 7 years, a combination hobby and business. He gives a lot away and sells some to folks at farmers markets.

"The bees make comb honey and I just take it right out of the frame and have a stamp and put it in these containers." It goes straight from the bees to me to the customer."

But he's low on honey and honey combs now. He's got a few other hives here and there, but says it will be at least a year until he's back in full production, once he finds a new and safer location.

"I just enjoy keeping bees, they are just a fascinating creature and honey is so good for you so healthy for you, the melatonin's in there a couple of tablespoons at night will help you sleep."

Hilton's hives are branded with numbers and other identifying marks. The California Bee Keepers Association offers a reward of up to ten thousand dollars for information leading to the arrest of hive thieves. Anyone with any information about the stolen hives is urged to contact Fresno Police.

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