Over 1.5 million Gozo bees burnt alive in arson of 28 hives

The aggressor placed tires under the hives and set them on fire

Over 1.5 million bees have been burned alive in Xewkija after an arson attack on 28 hives owned by bee exporters Melita Bees Ltd.

The company says that the aggressor placed used tires under the hives and set them on fire, resulting in €10,220 worth of immediate economic damage. 

A similar arson attack suffered by the company in 2016 saw the destruction of 220 beehives, killing 250,000 bees. It took place in a field between Għarb and Għasri.

"By now everyone knows how important bees are for our survival: over 80% of the food we grow requires pollination by bees," Melita Bees said in a statement.

Photo: Melita Bees Ltd
Photo: Melita Bees Ltd

It explained that Malta's mild climate allows the company to supply queen bees to beekeepers who have lost their colonies in time to multiply the surviving ones. 

"Abroad we are respected and appreciated, and Malta should be proud to host a company that helps many beekeepers to overcome difficult times. Instead, here in Malta, thanks to a disinformation campaign promoted by some jealous beekeepers, we are looked upon with hatred and suspicion."

The company had been accused of peddling foreign honey as Maltese honey, but Melita Bees denies the accusations. "Most of the honey on sale in Malta is a blend of EU and non-EU honeys," it explained.

"This climate of distrust has certainly infected the mind of the author of this unjustified massacre," the company remarks. 

"Many Maltese beekeepers in this difficult year marked by almost non-existent harvests and heavy varroa infestation are turning to us to replace the lost colonies: how can we help them if our bees are burned?"