Beekeepers worried hives are being destroyed due to murder hornet fears

VIDEO: Beehive vandalized at local botanical garden

SEATAC, Wash. — The senior citizens who manage “The Field of Bees” at the Highline SeaTac Botanical Garden made a horrible discovery Saturday morning.

“I was just bawling as I was here picking up the pieces,” says beekeeper Kim Michaelson. “It was terrible. It was so emotional.”

SeaTac police officers are investigating the vandalism on the beehives. Whoever is responsible went through a lot of work to destroy the bees, dragging a hose hundreds of feet just to reach the hives before spraying them down and setting one on fire.

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“It wasn’t like just a random act. It just seemed like someone had planned this out,” Michaelson said. “The fencing was torn down, the boxes and the frame were hosed down and thrown all over the place. There were dead bees everywhere.”

Michaelson wonders if the act of vandalism was sparked by someone worried the hives would draw the notorious “murder hornets” to the neighborhood. The Asian giant hornet is known to feed on honeybees by decapitating the entire hive. Their highly venomous sting can be deadly to humans if stung even just a handful of times, according to experts.

They say honeybees across the country are being slaughtered right now because people are panicked by “murder hornets.”

Michaelson says some of his bees did survive but hopes whoever is responsible knows the extent of what was destroyed.

“These were our babies. We’ve been doing this for years and it’s a big integral part of our lives,” he said.

The Washington State Department of Agriculture says it has received hundreds of reports of Asian giant hornet sightings within the past couple of weeks, but none of them were actually giant hornets. No additional hornets have been trapped since the first two confirmed specimens near Blaine in December, according to WSDA.

Officials say many people have been asking about setting up traps. However, they caution not to set them up until July because native insects will be trapped.