Punish Vandal Who Killed Thousands of Honeybees in Man’s Backyard

Honeybee

Target: Sterling Heights Police Department

Goal: Urge Sterling Heights police to find and punish perpetrator who killed thousands of bees with pesticide.

Recently, Timothy Fitch, a beekeeper in Sterling Heights, Michigan, went out to tend to the several thousand honeybees he keeps on his property only to discover that an unknown person had killed all of the insects. Fitch kept the honeybees in several wooden towers in the backyard of his home, and estimated the loss of the towers and the bees within at a value of $14,000. Furthermore, he asserts that the death of the insects is not only an issue of money, but also an environmental matter as well, as honeybees are one of the largest pollinators in the world. According to the city of Sterling Heights, an anonymous complaint was filed against Fitch in August of 2012. Furthermore, Fitch was facing a city violation code, one that he was actively contesting, regarding the number of honeybees on his property.

Fitch believes that the use of pesticides caused the death of the honeybees. This resulted not only in the honeybees being “frozen in time,” a quality that originally led Fitch to suspect pesticide poisoning, but also in the complete destruction of the insects’ honey. The contamination destroyed the towers, rendering each $2,000 structure unusable. But more concerning to Fitch than the loss of capital is the potential loss of environmental value that comes with the death of the estimated 700,000 honeybees. According to Fitch, “seventy-five percent of all crops for human consumption are pollinated by the honey bee.” His efforts to cultivate a large population of these bees was prompted in part when he “read [that] fifty percent of beehives collapsed,” and wanted to help reinstate such an important population. The honeybees, he asserts, were extremely hardy, surviving even in freezing temperatures. He believes that misconceptions surrounding bees, especially fear of being stung, may have led the vandal to kill the insects. However, Fitch contends that “most [stings] aren’t from bees, they’re from wasps and hornets,” and that the honeybees were a peaceful part of his backyard ecosystem, never harming his family or neighbors.

Discovering the dead bees, and realizing that this was the act of a vandal armed with pesticide, left Fitch feeling “sick to [his] stomach.” Nevertheless, he hopes to start over, though the process will undoubtedly be both costly and time-consuming. Urge the Sterling Heights Police Department to increase its efforts into the investigation of the death of Fitch’s honeybees, and thereby ensure the protection of future bee populations as well as the security of those who cultivate them.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Chief Michael Reese,

The recent attack on thousands of bees housed in the backyard of resident Timothy Fitch resulted not only in an immense loss of money for Fitch, but a great environmental forfeiture as well. Fitch’s efforts to assist the reinstitution of the bee population, already down to fifty percent of its original number, were commendable. Because bees account for seventy-five percent of pollination in plants consumed by humans, their survival is essential to our own.

Sadly, because of numerous misconceptions surrounding bees, 700,000 bees were destroyed on Fitch’s property by pesticide. By investigating the incident, the Sterling Heights Police Department has already done what is required of them, and their efforts are respectable. However, I wish to stress the importance of this issue even further, and urge the department to regard the incident with utmost importance. The finding and punishing of the perpetrator would not only bring justice to Timothy Fitch, but would also illustrate a level of intolerance for such acts of vandalism and could lead to a wider understanding of the importance of bees with regards to humans. I ask that you continue your investigation with increased resolution and ensure such actions do not occur again.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: John Severns via Wikimedia Commons

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