Fifteen year-old Bryce Bunderson opened his hive to find several empty honey frames. That is when he knew something was wrong.
"This year was going to be our big year. We've been building it up, building it up…" Bryce said of his large hive.
Now, 20 beehives and more than $12,000 in honey is gone.
"That's all the bees we had, except for 3 hives at our house," Bryce said.
The young man started his beekeeping business six years ago. His best buddy, business partner, and brother is currently serving his own LDS mission.
"All the money this year was going to go towards his mission to help him, and then the money when he came back—and I was on [my mission]—was going to go to mine,” Bryce explained.
Karla Bingham is one owner of Slide Ridge Honey. Her co-owner and brother has mentored the Bunderson brothers ever since they began beekeeping.
"You know, between my brother and I, we were going to take care of this, but amazingly, so many people of the community have called in to help," Bingham explained.
Bryce says he's grateful for all the support but loves those bees and worries the thief will not take care proper care of them.
"You kind of get to know each hive and how their temper is, so it's not like a dog, but kind of like your pet…” Bryce said. “We worked really hard to get them not with any illnesses and just to keep them healthy," he said.
"It's so disappointing, and because it's the time of year they did it, and because it's how they did it, there's probably not a good chance they'll survive," Bingham added.
Investigators say whoever stole the hives certainly knew what they were doing.
"It appears that it would be somebody with some knowledge of how these beehives are put together and what would be of value to take..." said Lt. Travis Lyman, with the Layton Police Dept. “But we don't have leads at this time," he said.
Both The Lion House Pantry and The Wasatch Beekeepers Association have already reached out to the Bunderson family. Bryce says the best way to help out is to take raw honey, or even money, to The Lion House Pantry.
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