SIOUX CITY, Iowa – More than half a million bees are dead. Thursday morning, Justin Engelhardt, co-owner of Wild Hill Honey, was doing his routine checkup on the 50 hives on his private property that are now destroyed.
“Some vandals came up and they destroyed all of our beehives and most of our beekeeping equipment. They tried to batter their way into our shed but eventually they piled some stuff up and went in through the window,” says Engelhardt.
Engelhardt runs Wild Hill Honey with his wife, but after this much damage, the future of their business is now uncertain.
“We’re cleaning it up right now and salvaging what we can,” says Engelhardt.
Engelhardt says unfortunately you can’t insure bees, meaning out of this horrific travesty, more than $50,000-60,000 in damages won’t be recovered
“They came by and used sticks and they knocked them all over and you can see that there’s clumps of bees here in the snow,” says Engelhardt.
The bees are unable to survive the freezing temperatures.
“Bees will cluster together on the frame to stay warm and you can see these guys died in their cluster,” says Engelhardt.
Bees are a crucial part of our ecosystem and when their hives are deliberately destroyed, the system becomes even more fragile.
“They’ve already got plenty of problems without vandals destroying the hives as well,” says Engelhardt.
Engelhardt did have a security camera set up, but the vandals stole that on their way out. Fortunately, police may still have a lead.
“The police response was fantastic. We called and they came right away and they dusted for fingerprints at the shed, and there are some footprints that they’re using to try to further the investigation and hopefully that leads somewhere,” says Engelhardt.
Engelhardt adds that he hopes to buy more bees in the spring, but this vandalism likely wipes out their business.
If the vandals are caught, they face potential felony burglary charges as well as criminal mischief.
The Sioux City Police Department believe that multiple people are involved.
They ask to, “Please help bring these individuals to justice.”
Anyone with information regarding this crime is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 712-258-TIPS or text 274637 with SCPDTIP in the message line.
If you would like to help the Engelhardt’s refurbish their business, you can donate on their gofundme pages:https://www.gofundme.com/wild-hill-honey-hive-restorationhttps://www.gofundme.com/ubeq7k-wild-hill-honey