Around 30,000 bees are found in each colony, and at least 20 hives were lit of fire. This means over half a million bees were burnt and killed during the incident.
Remember the saying from the world-renowned theoretical physicist Albert Einstein on bees? “If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would have only four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man.”
Now we are not sure whether he said this or not, but irrespective of that, an estimated half a million have been bees killed in an arson attack over the weekend in a town just south of Houston, reports CNN.
"We're looking at 500,000 to 600,000 (bees) that have been destroyed out of that environment," Steve Brackmann, who sells beekeeping supplies and queen bees, told KTRK. "Tomatoes, squash, watermelons, bees pollinate those," he said. "So if bees don't pollinate those, you get zero vegetables, we would see next to nothing in the vegetable stores."
Around 30,000 bees are found in each colony, and Brackman said at least 20 hives were lit of fire. This means over half a million bees were burnt and killed during the incident.
The incident took place as a dozen beehives were dumped in a rural area of southeast Texas, then lit on fire. On Saturday, a cop from the Brazoria County Sheriff's Office noticed bee boxes up in flames at the Brazoria County Beekeepers Association in Angleton, Texas. Even as he decided to douse the fire, it was already too late and the damage had already been done, according to the sheriff's office.
The arson incident has angered many environmentalists who claim that bees are an integral part of the ecosystem, and their population is already declining. Many bees are being killed off largely due to insecticide use by the industrial agriculture sector.
According to a study done out of New England, researchers found out certain species are declining by as much as 90 percent. “Because these species are major players in crop pollination, it raises concerns about compromising the production of key crops and the food supply in general,” Sandra Rehan, an assistant professor of biological sciences at the University of New Hampshire and senior author of the study said, as reported by CTV News.
The Brazoria County Beekeepers Association that looks after the 24 colonies of bees in the area took to Facebook to address the issue. "The intention of this yard was to help hobby bee-keepers and also to raise community awareness of beekeeping. It's bad enough to think in today's world this would happen but dumping them over and then setting fire to them is beyond comprehension," the association wrote. "Club has offered a reward to lead to conviction and anyone with info please forward it to the sheriff's office."
The police have launched a manhunt to find the arsonist and the Brazoria County Crime Stoppers is offering a reward of up to $5,000. And that's not all, the beekeepers association is also giving a $1,000 reward and seeking donations to recover from the damages. It is estimated to have set them back at least a few thousand dollars after the incident.
And thankfully, people are donating money to the association through a Facebook campaign, having raised over US$15,000 in the past few days.