Beekeepers discovered that 750 commercial beehives in the Batemans Bay area along the New South Wales south coast had been sprayed with an unknown poison, police said today.
The damage worth 150,000 Australian dollars has left a major honey producer devastated and a harvest ruined.
Wendy Roberts from Australian Rainforest Honey at Sunshine Bay said about 240 of their 5000 hives had been sprayed, killing all the bees inside.
Wendy, according to the Sydney Morning Herald, said her husband Pat discovered the poisoned hives at two of their sites yesterday morning.
The honey on some of the hives was ready to be harvested this week, but is now contaminated.
"(The perpetrators) would have had to go in. I'd say they would have had to have a good knowledge of bees. I hate to say the amount of money that has been lost," Wendy said.
She said hives on two different sites in National Park land had also been targeted.
Meanwhile, a Department of Primary Industries spokesperson said staff had taken samples from the hives, which would now go to Environment Protection Authority laboratories for testing.
Besides, police have asked anyone with information to call their crime stoppers cell. PTI