There is cut-throat competition among beekeepers in France because France’s 60,000 professional and amateur beekeepers are unable to keep up with demand for their product as there is a 35% annual death rate of bees due to pesticides, global warming and Asian hornets. The cut-throat competition is leading to the theft of beehives. This is in complete contrast to the image people normally have of beekeepers going about their business in a peaceful and calm manner. It appears that the hobby or business has degenerated into one where they steal from each other.
In the Occitanie region of southern France, 157 hives were stolen in seven days during March 2020. It is believed that that kind of theft has been repeated in other regions of provincial France. Local papers are reporting this kind of theft on a weekly basis.
A beekeeper of 50 hives, Pauline Girie, of Thodure in south-west France walk up one morning to find that half of her hives had been stolen. She said: “I was stunned. I had to sit down. We take care of our bees, our hives, it’s a lot of work and someone comes along and ruins everything in one night.”