Up to 250,000 Bees Killed at Hayes Valley Farm

Categories: Animals, Crime

Dead bees 01.jpg
Hayes Valley Farm
This week's bee genocide left hundreds of thousands of insects dead
​Ace food writer Jonathan Kauffman caught up with grieving beekeeper Karen Peteros at our sister blog, SFoodie; she lost thousands of bees when an unknown assailant gassed three of her hives at the Hayes Valley Farm.

Two of Peteros' hives were totally wiped out on Monday night or Tuesday morning and another lost half its population. Up to 250,000 insects were killed by the bug spray-wielding attacker. "I could bring in five more hives tomorrow," she says, "but I don't want to do that if we've got some obnoxious person trying to kill them."


Peteros, who manages 50 hives in the Bay Area and southern Oregon, has never before encountered a situation like this. The founder of SF Bee-Cause values each hive at roughly $1,000 a pop.

Hayes Valley Farm
The aftermath
​The beekeeper told SF Weekly that she'll dismantle the violated hives today -- a "hive autopsy" -- and scorch the insides of the bee boxes to burn out the deadly pestecide. She'll let the equipment sit for a year or so so every last trace of the poison will dissipate.

As for the future of bees at the Hayes Valley Farm, the plan is less certain. A more fortified enclosure? Security cameras? Both are possible.

"The distinct scent of household pesticide could be smelled around the entrance and ventilation holes of the SFBC hives, and around the piles of dead bees.," reports the farm's blog. "A sample of the residue from around the ventilation holes and a sampling of the dead bees have been preserved for analysis.  A police report has been filed."

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