HIVE HEIST: Sticky fingered thieves sting CQ bee keeper $10k
THIEVES have once again dipped their fingers in Paul Marsh's honey pot leaving the bee keeper reeling after his Marlborough property was stung again.
The owner of Bee2U arrived at his 55-hive property, 80km north of Rockhampton, to check on his precious investments only to find he had been robbed for the fourth time.
"Despite setting up a wildlife camera and taking precautions this wouldn't happen again, three hives were stolen," he said.
The 51-year-old was first introduced to bee-keeping in primary school.
In the following 40 years he has turned his passion into an international business.
Originally trading as Cadena Apiaries, Mr Marsh changed his business name more than five years ago moving his focus from producing queen bees to honey production.
Since then, he said the continued thefts were a huge blow to his buzzing business.
The latest thefts happened only a few days after Christmas.
The single-story hives stolen were commonly used in the first stages of honey production which Mr Marsh said would have weighed around 30kg each.
WHEN: Between December 24 and 30
WHERE: Bee2U property, 80km north of Rocky
WHAT: Three single hives, 1 story high
FEATURES: 2 grey and 1 white, branded with M415
Reward offered for information
"These particular hives don't produce any honey yet but were close to the road and in view," he said.
The skilled bee-keeper says the "opportunistic" crime would cost him between $10,000 and $20,000 in production value, not including the cost of the hives.
A single hive would normally produce Mr Marsh around 100kg of honey a year and was suited the Central Queensland climate well.
His honey is sold in numerous stores in the Mackay region and used to be available in Rockhampton.
But since Cyclone Debbie ripped through the region in 2016, he said the hives haven't been the same.
"Last year was the worst year yet, we only just started getting honey last month," he said.
"This is my livelihood and I'm just getting so fed up with this."
Demand in bees had reportedly sky-rocketed over the last few years as Mr Marsh says people are stealing them because so few are available to buy.
The dad-of-two was hoping somebody had seen the thieves between December 24 and 30.
He said the grey and white hives would look out of place in somebody's yard and was offering a reward for any information leading to their return.
The hives were branded with his unique mark - M415.