By Rebecca Peppiatt
A SENSELESS act of vandalism in Mundaring has all but destroyed the livelihood of a small honey producer and killed millions of bees unnecessarily.
Police were left shaking their heads when they were called out to Beelu National Park on January 4 where commercial bee keeper John Enkelmann keeps a group of bee hives.
For unknown reasons, someone had used expander foam to seal up the hive boxes, suffocating the bees and poured diesel into the top, destroying tonnes of honey that was about to be extracted and sold.
Mr Enkelmann from Westlands Honey said he was shocked and baffled by the act.
“It is absolutely devastating,” he said.
“I’m just so confused.
“Understanding what could possibly motivate someone to do this is the hardest part.”
Mr Enkelmann said he’d started his business from scratch after a lifestyle change from the city five years ago and it was now supporting two young families, including his own.
His business, Westlands Honey, sees him working as a migratory commercial bee keeper, meaning he moves his colonies of bees to different sites around the state allowing them to feed and produce honey all year round.
Mr Enkelmann has an annual permit to use a particular site at Beelu National Park for his business.
It was first registered as an apiary site in 1988 through what is now called the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA).
Mr Enkelmann took over the lease in 2016.
“If someone has a problem with me using the national park or using this particular site, my phone number is stencilled all over the hives, so if anyone has any issues they can call us,” he said.
“I’m completely open to discussing what the problem is, but I never received anything.”
Vandalism of bee hives, particularly in state forests, has become an increasing issue for honey producers, with many, like Mr Enkelmann, now planning to use instant upload cameras to monitor the hives.
“I’ve never experienced anything like this before and I’ve been bee keeping full time for five years,” Mr Enkelmann said.
“I’ve heard of hives being pushed over by four-wheel drivers and having rocks thrown at them and whatever, but this is next level nastiness.”
Mr Enkelmann has now lost tonnes of prime jarrah honey that would have translated to tens of thousands of dollars for his business and the impact from the loss of so many of his bees will be far reaching.
“This is a massive hit to the business, not just what we’ve lost here but also the rest of the season is ruined,” he said.
“A massive amount of our total workforce, as in our working hives, are decimated and we’re talking millions and millions of bees.”
Anyone with information should call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or report the information online at www.crimestopperswa.com.au using the incident report number 040122121087444.