In France, Bees Are Being Stolen French beekeepers say there's been an increase in beehive thefts, often with a large number being taken at once. The likely culprits are other beekeepers, says the French beekeeping union president.

Stolen Beehives Devastate French Beekeepers

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

There is a crime wave buzzing around France. A hundred and fifty-seven beehives were stolen over just seven days in the south of France, and local news outlets are abuzz - sorry - with almost daily reports of hijacked hives. Frank Aletru is a beekeeper and is also president of the National Beekeepers Union of France. He joins us from the West Coast of France. Thanks very much for being with us.

FRANK ALETRU: Hello.

SIMON: What are you hearing from other beekeepers about these thefts?

ALETRU: So it's a very big problem for us in France. And it's not only the problem of the France. It's a problem in west of Europe. Beehive theft is a phenomenon that has always existed but is now taking on a new dimension - for example, 50 hives disappearing all at once.

SIMON: Fifty hives disappearing all at once. Why would someone want to steal a beehive? And I'm sorry if that sounds naive.

ALETRU: The pesticide have killed thousand and thousands bee colonies each year. For this reason, the price of swarms increase. It's a very big problem for the beekeepers.

SIMON: How does somebody steal a beehive?

ALETRU: There is only one method. The method is to bring the hives during the night because all the bees are in their hives. But you need to know the bees. It's not amateurs. You need to be professional. It's the beekeepers who are the guilty.

SIMON: So it's your own beekeepers who are stealing the hives of other beekeepers, you think?

ALETRU: Some beekeepers prefer to steal the bees of another beekeeper. And it's a facility (ph), but it's not correct. We need to stop this very quickly.

SIMON: How?

ALETRU: How? So we proposed to the beekeepers the installation of cameras in trees near the apiaries of photography trucks equipped with infrared camera. It has been used to track down criminals. This year, two thieves have already been caught thanks to this system. Another technique is to hide commercially available GPS trackers. We put this in - between the frames in the hives, which can be purchased for 200 euros.

SIMON: But that will cost the beekeepers more money, right?

ALETRU: Yes, it's true because the bees are the mother of the life on our planet, and we must respect them. And we must respect the beekeepers. It's the same thing if he lose his children. We have a good - big, big responsibilities. We ask to all the beekeepers, please speak. Inform the police. We need to be united between us and to find necessaries responsible.

SIMON: Frank Aletru, who is president of the National Beekeepers Union in France, thank you so much for being with us, sir. Good luck to you.

ALETRU: Thanks. Many thanks to listen to French beekeeper.

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