An Ottawa couple is pleading for the safe return of up to 30,000 bees after they were stolen from their family business around Christmas.
Marianne and Matt Gee run Gees Bees, which provides rental beehives to businesses, restaurants, and homeowners in Kanata, Ont. The two care for the hives and remove the honey, which they share with the property owner Minto, according to the Ottawa Citizen.
The hives were placed on the land in the fall to help support the local bee population.
When Matt went to check on the hives on Boxing Day, he noticed two were gone.
On Saturday, Marianne posted news about the theft on Facebook.
"It’s unbelievable that someone would steal them now. Maybe they don’t know very much about bees,” Marianne told the Citizen.
The two hives weigh about 25 kilograms each, and could have around 15,000 bees inside.
Normally around this time of year, worker bees form a ball around the queen to keep warm. Moving them could cause them to separate, meaning they can easily freeze to death, she told the Ottawa Sun.
“We’ve lost bees to bears, especially in Canada, where it’s hard to keep bees with bears and pests and wacky weather like we’ve been having," she said.
"But now on top of that, we have to worry about people stealing them. It was really discouraging.”
Marianne Gee of Gees Bees (Photo: CTV Ottawa)
Marianne told CTV News the cost of replacing the hive and colony would cost approximately $400, but bees are a fragile species they are trying to help build up.
The two have filed a police report, and are hoping someone saw the hives in a truck leaving the property or down the road.
“We really want to bring them home," Marianne told the network.