Tony Hogg, Chair of the Florida Farm Bureau Apiculture Advisory Committee says that commercial beekeepers are experiencing declining profits due to increased bee deaths and stolen hives.
“Anything that gives us tools to our toolkit to try to discourage, or prevent, or punish theft is a good thing,” said Hogg.
The new law doubles the fine to $10,000 for felony theft of a commercial animal and includes cattle rustling in addition to beehive theft.
This year, Hogg says there will be a 60 percent honey bee colony loss and beekeepers from other states are experiencing similar declines.
According to UF, Florida is the nation’s 3rd top honey producer.