An interesting piece that that talks about beekeeping in the US, as well as the risks associated with it. I had no idea bees could be 'rented out' - the thought never crossed my mind, so it was something interesting to learn about.
A small passage from the article:
The first thing Philip Strachan, Valeri’s son, thought when Cunniff called him in a fugue state, muttering about stolen bees, was that this was the work of professionals. No normal criminal would think to steal bees or have the equipment or know-how to pull it off. Cunniff was thinking the same way, and the evidence was right there in the dirt. He could tell by the thieves’ tracks that they’d used single-axle, dual-wheeled straight trucks, and not semis, probably because they knew there wasn’t room to turn a semi around in a hurry. He also saw signs of a forklift, so they’d come prepared to lift pallets.
Hives go missing; that’s no surprise. But historically, Strachan says, it’s been “one here, two there.” Just some drunk opportunists in a pickup. But this was a methodical operation. Cunniff’s weren’t the only hives taken. In total, more than 700 of them, valued at as much as a million dollars, went missing in a single night.
The numbers in this article are off by at least a factor of 2 but what’s a bit of exaggeration between friends. No way a hive goes for $1500 also highly unlikely to have a million bees per hive 50-80k is the high end