Vandals rob bee keeper of his retirement
BEE keeper Kevin Sharman may not have a farm, but will soon have a farm-security camera.
But first he has to analyse the effects of recent vandalism, to see if he is still in business.
Mr Sharman says he is not sure of the full extent of damage, but a quick assessment shows vandals raiding his Amamoor apiary wrecked $6000 worth of hives and spoiled almost $2000 worth of valuable honey.
As with most of us, Mr Sharman says it is a lot of money to find at short notice, especially without his bee-keeping income.
And there is the vital matter of trying to meet his contract obligations with Capilano, a major buyer in an industry already suffering shortages because of bee-hive deaths from heat, fires and agricultural chemicals.
Vandals attacked his hives some time in the past few weeks, seriously damaging 15 hives, valued at about $400 each.
Some boxes broke, some frames broke and the honey - liquid gold in today's undersupplied market - spilled and spoiled on the ground.
He says he has lost up to two of the 200l drums of product, for which he would have expected to be paid $800 or $90 each wholesale.
Mr Sharman does not know the exact extent of the damage.
"The honey's spoiled or stolen by other bees, the beetles may have got into the hives.
"It's dry so it's hard for the bees to make more honey before winter.
"Unless we get rain followed by some dry flowering time before winter, some will run out of food and die. I might have to talk to Centrelink," he said.