June 1, 2012

Skowhegan police investigate bee theft

By Amy Calder acalder@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

SKOWHEGAN — Police are investigating the theft of 20 to 25 bee boxes from property off U.S. 201, south of Varney Road.

Bee owner Robert Egan last saw the “nucs,” or nuclear bee colonies, Thursday afternoon and they were gone when he returned around 8 a.m. today, according to Deputy Police Chief Dale Lancaster.

“They took only nucs with fully established colonies,” Lancaster said today.

Lancaster described the nucs as a foot deep, 14 to 16 inches long and eight inches wide.

A website for Bee Progress describes a nuc as a nuclear hive, or about four frames from a working hive that include a queen bee. Nuc boxes are typically cardboard, it said.

Lancaster said Egan thought the theft may have happened at night because bees are less active then.
The type of bees in the nucs are a subspecies of the western honey bee known as carniolan, according to Lancaster. They were taken from an unmarked site, he said.

Nucs are starter hives for beekeepers and are sold by beekeepers, he said.

“Mr. Egan sells them, and they’re valued at over $100 apiece,” Lancaster said.

Lancaster asked that anyone with information about the theft call police at 474-6908.

Egan could not immediately be reached for comment.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

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