There’s a distinct buzz in Tallahassee as a new law goes into effect Monday that makes it less worthwhile to steal beehives.
It’s no joke: In recent years, Florida has seen a dramatic increase in theft of beehives, according to an analysis of the bill which is now law. The increase in beehive thefts is mainly due to an increase in bees used for commercial pollination.
A beehive can be worth up to $300, and in 2016, a bee operation in Lee and Charlotte counties lost over $150,000 from 700 reportedly stolen hives, according to the legislative staff analysis.
The new law puts bees into the same category as other commercially farmed animals, such as cows, and makes anyone caught stealing a hive owe a $10,000 fine. Fines collected from beehive thefts may have little fiscal impact for the state as a whole, but will hopefully dissuade beehive thieves in the future, legislative analysts report.
Other laws that go into effect today include harsher punishments for people who abuse animals, benefits for first responders with post-traumatic stress disorder, a year-round daylight saving time, and plans for building a slavery memorial on the grounds of the state’s Capitol.