A suspected arson in Texas killed 600,000 bees, and authorities are baffled as to what the motive could be

Brazoria County Beekeepers AssociationRoughly 600,000 bees were killed on April 26, when a local hobbyist beekeeper’s hives were burned in a suspected arson.
  • Roughly 600,000 bees are dead in a Texas hobbyist’s yard after a suspected arson that has baffled authorities.
  • The local beekeeping association said one beekeeper “broke down in tears” at the sight of some surviving bees still caring for their brood.
  • The group has already raised $US16,000 in donations to rebuild the hives.
  • Authorities said the motive for the blaze is unclear – but perhaps some rival beekeepers were involved.
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A number of beehives went up in flames last week, leaving roughly 600,000 bees dead and a beekeeper in tears at the sight of the damage.

Photos posted to the group’s Facebook page show the beehives torn asunder and flipped over, with some frames flung into a nearby pond and others lying on the ground scorched.

A local sheriff’s deputy spotted the hives burning early in the morning on April 27, and quickly grabbed a fire extinguisher, but it was too late for many of the bees. Beyond that, “several thousands of dollars of damage” had already been done to the hives by the time the blaze went out, Brazoria County Crime Stoppers said in a Facebook post.

The beekeeper who later surveyed the damage “broke down in tears” upon seeing a frame floating in the pond, “with bees still caring for the brood,” the Brazoria County Beekeepers Association said in a statement.

Read more: 3 hives of bees living on the roof of Notre-Dame Cathedral survived the fire

The group said the remaining bees “will remain stressed for several days” and that it wasn’t clear whether the queens are still in the remaining colonies.

Brazoria County Crime Stoppers said it’s offering a $US5,000 reward for information that helps find the person responsible for the blaze, and the beekeepers’ association said they will add an additional $US1,000 to that reward.

The hives were part of a rural yard that housed a number of hobbyist beekeepers’ hives as part of a partnership with Brazoria County, the association said.

“The intention of this yard was to help hobby beekeepers, and also to raise community awareness of beekeeping. Many people passing by, are able to see the bees and the beekeepers working with them,” the group said. “It has been upsetting to see that someone would take advantage of the hard work and dedication that goes into beekeeping, but it has been more difficult for the bees.”

The group has raised more than $US16,000 in donations so far to help rebuild, according to its Facebook page.

The suspected arson has also stumped local authorities, who said they can’t fathom why the hives had been targeted – unless some rival beekeepers were perhaps involved.

“Was someone just creating mischief for no other reason than to destroy something?” Lt. Varon Snelgrove, a spokesman for the Brazoria County Sheriff’s Office told The New York Times. “Or did someone have an ax to grind with someone? Could it be another beekeeper? There are a lot of different avenues that it could take.”

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