Mysterious hive poisoning leads to thousands of bees to be burned

Long Lunch 07/03/2018
Photo: Getty.

About 300 beehives were inevitably burned near Nelson after an insecticide was discovered in dead bee samples.

Veteran beekeeper Ricki Leahy, who has worked in the industry for over 40 years, joined Wendyl Nissen on The Long Lunch to share about his loss.

“We immediately knew something was wrong,” he said, upon finding dead or distressed bees around his property.

The beekeeper says it was an emotional experience having to dispose of thousands of bees. 

The hives were full of both dead and decaying bees.

Mr Leahy approached police after tests carried out by the Minister for Primary Industries found the presence of the insecticide fipronil in the dead bees.

We immediately knew something was wrong.

Police are investigating whether the incident was malicious or not but say it’s too early to determine the intent behind the poisoning. 

“They could’ve been a nuisance to someone for some reason,” he guessed. “But heck, that’s a lot of bees being killed.”

However, Mr Leahy has been buoyed by the response of friends and members of the local bee community, who provided him with new queen bees in the wake of the huge loss. 

Listen to the full interview with Ricki Leahy above. 

The Long Lunch with Wendyl Nissen, 12pm - 3pm on RadioLIVE and streaming live to the rova app on Android and iPhone.