An apiarist has admitted he is “disappointed and sad” as tens of thousands of his bees froze to death after a drunken perpetrator attempted to steal honey from his hives.
The 25-year-old offender, who was found to be inebriated and on drugs, was arrested by the police in Nonnweiler in the German state of Saarland. Up to 60,000 pollinators lost their lives in the incident, according to German news websites.
The hobbyist beekeeper, named only as Andreas by the authorities, said: “I’m disappointed and sad that my colonies were killed. I bred them myself. Each bee colony is different.”
The 32-year-old beekeeping enthusiast told the Bild newspaper: “My parents called the police and even apprehended him until the officers arrived. He argued that he stole the honeycombs as honey had become so expensive.”
One 500-gramme jar of German honey currently costs around EUR 6.50 (GBP 5.65). The country’s apiarists are unable to cover the immense demand for the product which consists of numerous antioxidant substances.
Andreas said he was bracing for damages of around EUR 2,000 (GBP 1,725). The intruder, who also faces drink-driving charges as he arrived on an e-scooter, was detained. When being interrogated, he admitted having been responsible for a similar offence in the neighbourhood.
The Saarland Union of Beekeepers has more than 1,900 members. They are in charge of around 9,800 honeybee colonies. More than 80 per cent of beekeepers in the state are men. Their average age is 56.
All over Germany, around 135,000 people engage in apiculture, according to the Federal Ministry of Agriculture. However, the German Association of Beekeepers has 149,000 members.