Several thousand lab honeybees were stolen from a facility outside a Scottish hospital on Sunday.
Worth around £3,000, the British black bees (Apis mellifera mellifera) belonged to the laboratory of University of Dundee neuroscientist Chris Connolly.
His team was using the bees for a £2 million project investigating the potential effects of miticides and pesticides on the insects’ nervous system. Such chemicals have been proposed as an explanation for worldwide bee die-offs attributed to colony collapse disorder, and Connolly was part of a team exploring this theory.
According to the BBC, Connolly last saw the four missing hives on Sunday morning when he arrived to work at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee. The hymenopterans were gone 20 minutes later.
“Two middle-aged men in a white van were seen pulling up beside the hives at this time and clearly whoever did this knows what they were doing and how to handle bees,” Connolly told BBC. One of the suspects also sported a bonnet.
No word on whether the police plan to organise a sting.
Image of honeybee courtesy Wikimedia Commons