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BEE ATTACK: The queen is dead

Tuesday 27th April 2021

FARMERS have slammed a gang of vandals who targeted a hive and wiped out a bee colony.

Four young men reportedly kicked over the nest at Clock House Farm on April 25 killing thousands of bees – including the queen.

The farm’s apiarist Michael Smith says he has only managed to save a third of the bees affected.

Bees are groggy during the cold weather and survive by forming a huddle around the queen to keep her warm. If their hive is toppled, they die where they fall.

Mr Smith, who has lived and worked at the farm for more than 25 years, said: “It takes time for a colony to grow and develop, it can’t be replaced overnight.

"The queen is dead and she is the heart of the beehive. Her only job is to lay eggs. No queen, no eggs. I just hate to lose so much over the insensitive, dreadful behaviour of others. This hooliganism has to stop.”

The insects, whose numbers have been declining across the UK, are crucial to fruit growing at the Coxheath farm, because they pollinate the crops as well as provide honey.

Jane Peckham, recruiter for Clock House Farm, said: "It is just completely mindless. These people have shown zero regard for animal life.

“It’s so important because people don’t realise that without bees, there is no life. The harsh reality is we cannot do anything about it. We just have to replace, replace, replace all the time. It is heart-breaking really.”

Coxheath community campaigner Simon Webb said: "This is utterly infuriating. Apart from being mindless and cruel thuggery, there is an environmental cost to this crime.

"It also affects businesses which rely on bees to pollinate the fruit trees and bushes. One hopes that police are treating this seriously.

"I'd hope the full weight of the law comes down on the perpetrators, although I am concerned that will not happen."