Beekeeper seeks those responsible for causing over $12,000 in lost revenue, damage to beehives

ST. GEORGE – One area beekeeper’s visit earlier this week to the apiary he kept along the Virgin River turned into a police report after he discovered multiple hives had been destroyed in a suspected act of vandalism.

Some of the hives beekeeper Brett Chamberlain discovered damaged in an apiary along the Virgin River. Chamberlain believes the vandalism was committed by teens over over the Thanksgiving Day holiday, St. George, Utah, December 2018 | Photo courtesy of Brett Chamberlain, St. George News

Brett Chamberlain of Brett’s Bees took to Facebook Tuesday to share photos of the shattered remains of 15 hives that appeared to have been run over.

“You could still see the tire marks on the ground and the hive fragments,” Chamberlain told St. George News Wednesday.

When Chamberlain went to check on the apiary – a site where beekeepers keep a collective of hives – in an area along of the Virgin River west of the Lin’s Market on Mall Drive, he said “it looked like a tornado had hit the place.”

Hardly anything could be salvaged from the obliterated hives, Chamberlain said in the Facebook post.

As for the bees that were within the hives, they are inactive during winter, Chamberlain said, so they did not swarm and attempt to defend the hives as they would have during warmer seasons. They were lost along with the hives.

The loss in pollination contracts and equipment is estimated at around $6,500, with the loss of honey production estimated to be around $6,000. However, one of Chamberlains beekeeping associates told him the honey loss could be as high as $10,000, he said.

At least 12 of the 15 hives were in shape for honey production next year, Chamberlain said. The general yield of the hive is around 100 pounds of honey, with a single pound being worth around $5, he said.

“As this is the way I support My family I can not afford to take such losses lightly,” Chamberlain wrote on Facebook.

Chamberlain suspects the vandalism occurred over the Thanksgiving Day weekend.

Some of the hives beekeeper Brett Chamberlain discovered damaged in an apiary along the Virgin River. Chamberlain believes the vandalism was committed by teens over over the Thanksgiving Day holiday, St. George, Utah, December 2018 | Photo courtesy of Brett Chamberlain, St. George News

Like other beekeepers, he said he checks the apiary on a revolving basis between multiple other sites. Depending on the remoteness of where an apiary may be kept, beekeepers may only visit the scattered apiaries once every couple of weeks.

While every beekeeper deals with a measure of vandalism and theft, it’s rarely this extensive, he said. It is due to the severity of the damage that Chamberlain filed a police report in relation to the vandalism.

Read more: Feeling the sting of theft, local beekeepers offer reward for information

“Normally if one or two hives where (sic) tipped over or shot with pellet guns I would say those rascals and shake my fist in the air and that would be that,” he wrote on Facebook. “However, these particular vandals took it a little too far.”

Chamberlain believes the vandals were likely teens out causing mayhem in a pickup truck and made a stupid decision in destroying the beehives. While he wants the culprits found, he doesn’t necessarily want to press charges, as he would rather be reimbursed for the losses and move on.

“I hold no malice against them,” Chamberlain said, adding that he hopes the vandals see the news about the apiary’s destruction being spread so they might have a change of heart and step forward.

If no tips or leads comes forth initially, Chamberlain said a reward will be offered for information leading to the apprehension of the vandals.

Anyone with information concerning the vandalism incident can contact Chamberlain at 435-467-3364, or St. George Police at 435-674-4300 and reference incident no. 18P030011.

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Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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  • Real Life December 6, 2018 at 5:11 pm

    Karma. Hopefully the dumb hillbillies that did this have got some bad things coming to them.

  • justsaying December 6, 2018 at 5:23 pm

    Aw man if only them bees could have fought back, yeah, you know what I mean.

  • Comment December 6, 2018 at 6:54 pm

    Sounds like something done by “youths”. Your suspects vehicle is likely an old beater pickup to be found in a hs parking lot.

  • stevenxfiles December 6, 2018 at 9:27 pm

    This is so sad! Bees are getting attacked by the pesticides we spray in the air and now these little a-holes needlessly destroy another living creature just for kicks? I think we need more public education in primary and high schools to teach the coming generations that WE NEED BEES FOR FOOD PRODUCTION! If we don’t have bees in this world, we don’t have food!

  • KR567 December 6, 2018 at 11:30 pm

    I don’t think this was an attack by killer bees

  • JOSH DALTON December 7, 2018 at 7:35 am

    Maybe a bear did this, looking for food for the winter. Honey badger maybe? Or could it have been some righteous animal lover. Either way I hope the bee keeper can bounce back. GO FALCONS!

  • Carpe Diem December 7, 2018 at 8:25 am

    Probably see these yahoos eventually strung out on meth or smack showing up in the mugshots.

  • Carpe Diem December 7, 2018 at 8:26 am

    Something to be said about keeping a game camera hidden nearby.

  • R. Carter December 7, 2018 at 6:36 pm

    Tough luck on the bees. Hopefully the morons that did this are found.

    The reporter on the video could also stand to lose a few pounds.

  • htown December 8, 2018 at 10:09 pm

    Are these on Public Land?

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