The bees had no chance. The arsonist intended to kill all the bees in 28 hives at a Gozo apiary.
A used tyre was strategically placed beneath the hives, and then set on fire. The ensuing inferno incinerated one and a half million bees.
What a devastating loss of bees once again, this time in Xewkija, Malta.
The bees were owned by Melita Bees Ltd. which is in the business of exporting bees, mainly to Europe and Canada.
The arson attack hit 28 hives, and the bees were burnt alive.
The estimated economic damage was reported to be €10,220 (approximately $12,000).
The company suffered a similar arson attack in 2016, when 220 beehives were destroyed. That attack took place between Ghasri and Gharb.
Melita Bees released a statement, saying that everyone has come to understand how important bees are for our survival since they pollinate over 80% of the food we grow.
The mild climate in Malta allows the company to supply queen bees to beekeepers that have lost their colonies in time to increase the number of surviving ones.
This unrelated 4:19-minute video by University of Malta is called the Golden World of Bees:
According to the company, a disinformation campaign launched by jealous beekeepers has caused the company to be regarded with hatred and suspicion. In contrast, the company is respected and appreciated abroad. They feel Malta should be happy to host a company that helps so many beekeepers through challenging times.
Melita Bees was blamed for the loss of the native Maltese bee (Apis mellifera ruttneri) back in 1993 when the varroa mite arrived on the island. They have also been accused of selling foreign honey as Maltese honey, which they deny, saying that most of the honey on sale in Malta is a blend of EU and non-EU honey. They believe the poisonous disinformation campaign has stoked the distrust to a pitch where it infected the mind of the arsonist behind the unjustified bee massacre.
This year Maltese beekeepers have suffered many difficulties. Almost non-existent harvests, heavy varroa mite infestations, all led to poor production. These beekeepers turn to Melita Bees to replace their lost colonies. But with their own bees burned to cinders, they can’t help other beekeepers recover.
This is another heart-breaking case of bees dying due to human actions. No matter if it is through negligence, lack of caring, or intentional malice. There is never a valid reason to kill innocent honeybees.
Please help raise awareness about how precious honeybees are so we have less stories like this to report.