Stephanie Gardiner June 19, 2012
Hundreds of beehives on the NSW south coast have been sprayed with poison, with a major honey producer left devastated and a harvest ruined.
Police said about 750 beehives were poisoned on properties near Batemans Bay causing about $150,000 worth of damage.
Wendy Roberts from Australian Rainforest Honey at Sunshine Bay, which provides honey to Woolworths around the country, said about 240 of their 5000 hives had been sprayed, killing all the bees inside.
Mrs Roberts said her husband Pat discovered the poisoned hives at two of their sites yesterday morning.
The honey on some of the hives was ready to be harvested this week, but is now contaminated.
Mrs Roberts said she could not estimate how much this would cost the family company.
"All I know is they've been sprayed. All the bees are dead," Mrs Roberts said.
"[The perpetrators] would have had to go in. I'd say they would have had to have a good knowledge of bees.
"I hate to say the amount of money that has been lost."
She said hives on two different sites in National Park land had been targeted.
"It's going to affect us very, very immensely.
"We're depending on this year to fulfil our commitment with Woolworths.
"And it's just devastating. These people have got no consideration."
Mrs Roberts said she knew of three other honey farmers who had been targeted, but it was unclear why.
A Department of Primary Industries spokeswoman said staff had taken samples from the hives, which would now go to Environment Protection Authority laboratories for testing.
Results may not be known for several days, she said.
Police asked anyone with information to phone Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.