Bees are rapidly disappearing around the U.S., and that could be potentially devastating, because bees are essential to the production of many major food crops. Without bees, there would be no blueberries or apples. Now one Iowa honey company says vandals smashed 50 beehives and killed at least half a million bees, and nearly destroyed the entire business completely.
Justin and Tori Engelhardt of Iowa’s Wild Hill Honey discovered the smashed beehives on Thursday, December 28, when they went out in the morning to check on the bees. All 50 of their hives had been smashed to pieces. The bees, unable to survive the cold temperatures outside the hive, were piled dead in the snow. Justin Engelhardt said nothing was stolen except for the security camera.
At the time, Engelhardt said the destruction had probably destroyed Wild Hill Honey completely, because insurers don’t offer beehive insurance and the business couldn’t absorb the approximately $50,000 worth of damage that had been done.
Since news of the vandalism got out, however, Go Fund Me efforts on Wild Hill Honey’s behalf have raised more than $35,000. Engelhardt posted to the company’s Facebook page that the money would allow them to rebuild and start operating again in the spring.
“Thank you to everyone for your generous contributions and your amazing show of support. Because of you, we will be able to continue our business in the spring. We are deeply moved by your compassion,” Engelhardt wrote on Facebook. “Between the contributions and the equipment we were able to salvage, our needs have been met. There are so many great causes to support. Our wish is that this spirit of compassion will be used to help others now. All fundraisers for Wild Hill Honey are now closed. Thank you.”
Smashing the beehives and killing half a million bees was a senseless attack, and police are still looking for the culprits. But the fact that thousands of strangers saved the business from ruin makes this one of the most inspiring food stories of 2017.