A local beekeeper has lost more than $100,000 worth of bees and equipment to theft over the last two years — including the theft of the security cameras he installed to try to catch the perpetrator(s).

Talk about a lack of respect for the rule of law and those who uphold it.

We hate to hear of any small business owner being hit by one theft, let alone a pattern of theft and damage that will likely drive that person out of business. However, there are few things that bother us more than willful harm to a bee business.

Bees are already under duress due to climate change. And, yes, we know, both sides of the aisle don’t even agree that climate change exists, especially the side of the aisle that gets most of its campaign finance funding from the fossil fuel industry. But, for the sake of argument, let’s say the 97 percent of scientists who say climate change is real are correct.

The problem is that, as temperatures rise, bees are being forced to move northward from typical habitat. However, the northern edges of hospitable land are not changing, thus creating a shrinking habitat.

The result is more than a 37-percent decline in bee population just over the last winter, according to the Honey Bee Health Coalition.

Anyone who has been bothered by bees during a picnic is probably saying, “So what?” right about now. The “so what” is that bee pollination results in an estimated $20 billion in vegetable, fruit and flower crops each year, and that’s $20 billion the economy can ill afford to lose.

Plus that would mean even more importing of fruits and vegetables from overseas growers, creating an even larger trade imbalance.

A single beekeeper’s losses aren’t going to trigger the complete collapse of the American food-growing industry, but it certainly doesn’t help when bee population is dangerously low.

It’s our hope local law enforcement can crack the case and find the thief (or thieves) in short order so the local beekeeper can replenish his bees and hives, and return his business to a success status.

Because a beekeeper’s success is farmers’ success. And farming, being the backbone of the American economy, needs to be a success.

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