Someone kills up to 250,000 bees used for honey in Lincolnshire
In a case police are calling "bizarre," someone used a pesticide to kill thousands of honeybees in the Lincolnshire Marriott Resort's apiary.
Honey from the bees has been used since 2010 in recipes at the Marriott's restaurants and in beer made for the resort by the Lake Bluff Brewery.
"It's really unfortunate," said Kristin Duncan, the resort's general manager. "We have no idea who would have done this or why."
The Italian honey bees are kept in wooden hives in a garden area near the Marriott's golf course, on the sprawling resort's southwest side. They were discovered dead Nov. 4 by head chef Pierre Daval, Lincolnshire Police Chief Peter Kinsey said.
Of the apiary's 20 hives, bees in five of them were dead, police said. Bees in five others were nearly wiped out, too.
Three cans of Raid wasp and hornet spray were found nearby, officials said.
The bees were last seen alive during a honey harvest in July, Duncan said. Staff members harvest honey only two or three times a year, she said.
Each hive typically contains between 40,000 and 50,000 bees this time of year, Duncan said. She estimated as many as 250,000 bees may have been killed.
Police don't have any evidence in the case.
By the time Daval reported the vandalism to police Nov. 6, employees had thrown away the cans -- and with them, any fingerprints or other clues they contained, Kinsey said.
The apiary isn't under video surveillance, he said.
Kinsey called the crime bizarre, and he said he was unaware of any complaints about the bees or problems they've created since the apiary was built.
Lincolnshire Mayor Liz Brandt was shocked by the viciousness of the deed.
"It's just kind of sick and demented," Brandt said.
She compared the act to someone who would kill dogs or cats at a shelter.
"Someone planned this and did it. There was thought," she said. "What compels someone to do something like that?"
Honey from the bee colony goes into butter, vinaigrette, cornbread, oatmeal raisin cookies, truffles, parfait and dessert bars. It's also used as a condiment and sold in the gift shop.
Duncan didn't have a financial loss estimate.
Bees go into a dormant period in the fall and winter, and some of them would have died naturally, Duncan said. The resort repopulates the hives every spring and will do so again next year, she said.
"We just may have to replenish more than we usually do because of this damage," she said.
Security patrols will be boosted because of the vandalism, Duncan said. Marriott officials may consider other security changes, too.