8 Nov 2012

Beekeepers Assn condemns attacks on hives

6:47 am on 8 November 2012

The National Beekeepers Association has deplored the sabotage and theft of beehives that's going on in Northland, apparently driven by competition for high-priced manuka honey.

The owner of Honey Team, John Whitehead, says someone poisoned 90 of his hives in the Hokianga area.

Mr Whitehead has contacted the police and offered a reward of $5000 for information that leads to a conviction.

National Beekeepers Association has condemned the hive attacks as totally unprofessional and putting the reputation of the multi-million dollar industry at risk.

Chief executive Daniel Paul said there is a code of practice that the association would like beekeepers to adhere to.

But Mr Paul said it's impossible to ring fence the bees or put fences around land and the association wants beekeepers to respect other beekeepers' entitlement to land.

If there is a beekeeper with a prior claim to land he said it's necessary to discuss with them, or with the land's owner, a desire to use that land.

"It is anticipated that you would, as a beekeeper, endeavour to keep a reasonable distance between your hives and another beekeeper's hives, a couple of kilometres for instance, and that you don't encroach on another beekeepers areas of activity," he said.

Mr Paul said that certainly includes not stealing or destroying another beekeeper's hives or upsetting their operation.