The Malta Independent 21 September 2021, Tuesday

1.5 million bees burnt alive in suspected arson attack in Gozo

Monday, 13 September 2021, 12:07 Last update: about 7 days ago

Around 1.5 million bees have been burnt alive in a suspected arson attack on an apiary in Gozo. 

28 hives owned by bee exporters Melita Bees Ltd were burned after an individual placed a tyre under the hives and set it on fire. The individual is still unknown. 

In a statement, Melita Bees said that the immediate damage amounts to €10,220 plus the loss of production for next year amounts to another €7,500. 

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The owner, Ermanno De Chino, said that “to this we should add the biological and moral damage because episodes like this leave an indelible mark.” 

“I love bees and I have dedicated my life to them and seeing them exterminate in this way really hurts,” De Chino said. 

He also pointed that this was not the first incident of its kind. In 2016, the apiary suffered a similar attack, which led to the death of 250,000 bees. It took place in a field between Għarb and Għasri. 

He added that “by now, everyone knows how important bees are for human survival, over 80% of the food we grow requires pollination by bees.” 

Melita Bees, De Chino’s company, specialises in the breeding of queen bees for exportation to European and Canadian beekeepers.

“Abroad we are respected and appreciated, and Malta should be proud to host a company that helps many beekeepers to overcome difficult times,” De Chino added.

“Instead, here in Malta, thanks to a disinformation campaign promoted by some jealous beekeepers, we are looked upon with hatred and suspicion.”

He hoped the authorities would be able to identify and prosecute the arsonists and urged the public to help the company find land to carry out the breeding in.

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