Beekeeper searches for answers after a number of hives stolen

A local Beekeeper says he was stung – not by his bees – but by thieves.

“So, this is the frame of honey they’re working on,” Pastor Jerry Cloninger explained.

Cloninger is buzzing about his bees.

“’How many times have you been stung?’ FOX 46 Charlotte’s David Sentendrey asked. ‘Today? Three times today but we’re probably in the hundreds,’” Cloninger replied.

It might seem like a crazy hobby but Cloninger said he’s a Beekeeper for life.

“Bees are scarce and they’re expensive,” he explained.

An expensive hobby is one reason why he can’t believe a number of his hives were stolen.

“Thousands of care and vehicles pass by where my bees were,” Cloninger said.

Some of his bees were being kept at his friend’s property in Mooresville off Highway 150.

“I figure between $1,000 and $1,5000 for the bees they stole,” he said.

Beekeeping equipment being stored in a barn is also missing.

“A little over $10,000,” Cloninger added.

Cloninger said what’s disappointing about this incident is that whoever stole his bees had to most likely know how to move them and it’s certainly a tough task to handle.

There’s really no market for hives unless they’re being stolen by Beekeepers or sold to Beekeepers but either way it’s disappointing,” he said.

The property where his bees were being kept was recently sold but Cloninger said the new landowner who lives out of state denies any involvement.

The Iredell County Sheriff’s Office is investigating.