Honey shortage looms as High Holy Days near, thefts increase

Written by on August 26, 2020

“There are cameras and drones but the thieves aren’t afraid of anything” said one Israeli farmer.

Photo of honey harvesting in Israel (photo credit: ALON SEGRON)

Photo of honey harvesting in Israel

(photo credit: ALON SEGRON)

Israeli farmers fear that the current honey shortage due to agricultural thefts which have increases throughout August will drag on into the High Holy Days, and Rosh Hashanah in particular.

It has been a challenging month for Israeli farmers. In addition to the drastic decrease in exports during the coronavirus pandemic, thieves have caused millions of shekels worth of damage when stealing honey and beehives, Mako reports.

“There are cameras and drones but the thieves aren’t afraid of anything,” said one Israeli farmer.

Damage done to the hives is often permanent as thieves poison the queen bee, making the chance that the hive will recover very small.

Between March and July this year, there has been a 50% increase in agricultural thefts compared to last year. The thefts are not limited to honey and include tons of mango, melon and corn.

Some farmers think that the numbers of thefts are higher but that many farmers do not report because they do not believe it will not help them. “What will filing a complaint do?” asked one farmer. “Will it bring my vegetables back to me?”

 Police say they are fighting to reduce thefts, but that it is not possible to post an officer at every hive.

“We are helpless,” said a farmer from the south. “I have been threatened by thieves with knives and clubs a few times, I would rather let them steal and not get involved. My life is more important than a ton of mangoes.”

Thousands of shekels’ worth of honeybee hives with honeycombs were stolen from properties in the Western Galilee region of northern Israel last Thursday.

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