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West Sacramento Man Convicted Of Stealing Bees

 CocteauBoy / Flickr

CocteauBoy / Flickr

Tauzer Apiaries in Woodland found ransacked hives in two different locations, back in September of 2012. A total of 460 hives were damaged.
Tauzer Apiaries owner, Mark Tauzer, said while hive theft happens from time to time, the way Zhdamirov hurt the bees was not characteristic of people who keepers.

"Most people get into beekeeping because they love the bees," Tauzer explained. “And no matter how much you hate your competitor you don’t hurt the bees. It’s just not in us.”

Tauzer said because of the increased number of almond orchards in Yolo County more hives are needed to pollinate the trees (two hives for every acre). This means hives are closer together, creating turf wars among bees and increasing the risk of the spread of disease.
Most of the time when hives are too close the beekeepers will talk and work it out. In this case Zhdamirov took a different approach; ripping apart the hives, taking some parts and leaving the bees vulnerable to attack. 
"There was about half a pound of dead bees near each hive from the fighting," Tauzer said. 
Tauzer's hives were distinctively marked, making it easy for Tauzer and his employees to do their own investigation and track down the missing hives. They found the hives two days later, partially painted green, and mixed in with hives owned by Zhdamirov.  
Tauzer's brand markings on the hives were still visible, despite attempts to cover them with paint and putty. 
With the help of the Yolo County Sheriff's Department and the Yolo County Department of Agriculture they hives were recovered. The damage amounted to $65,000. 
Sheriff Deputy Don Harmon contacted Zhdamirov who admitted to his crimes. 
“The theft and malicious destruction of the beehives in this case is an example of the type of agricultural crimes that the District Attorney finds intolerable,” said Deputy District Attorney Martha Holzapfel, the procecutor for this case. “We would not have had the success in this case without Mr. Tauzer’s proactive marking of hives and a dedication to finding and recovering the bees." 
Zhdamirov faces a possible sentence of up to three years and will also be required to reimburse Mark Tauzer for the monetary damages he caused.  

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