The owner of a Gozitan apiary, Ermanno De Chino, explained that the incident took place in Xewkija, where strangers placed tyres under 28 hives and set them on fire.
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He went on to share that: ‘The immediate damage amounts to €10,220 plus the loss of production for next year which I can estimate at €7,500. To this we should add the biological and moral damage because episodes like this leave an indelible mark. I love bees and I have dedicated my life to them and seeing them exterminate in this way really hurts’.
However, this was regretfully not the first incident. Back in 2016, 200 fertilisation nuclei with 250,000 bees and their queens were burnt in Ghasri. De Chino’s company, Melita Bees LTD, specialises in the breeding of queen bees for European and Canadian beekeepers.
This comes as quite a shock, since, as he explained, ‘By now everyone knows how important bees are for human survival, over 80% of the food we grow requires pollination by bees’.
However, ‘Thanks to Malta’s mild climate we can supply queen bees to beekeepers who have lost their colonies, in time to multiply the surviving ones and save the season.’, he added.
De Chino hopes the authorities will identify and prosecute the arsonists and urges anyone with valuable information to contact the police.