An Illinois beekeeper whose bee hives were stolen and allegedly destroyed by the Illinois Department of Agriculture has stirred up a hornet’s nest with his questions on why the state did this, and most importantly, what they did with his bees.
The state claims the bees were destroyed because they were infected with a disease called foulbrood.
But when the 58-year apiary keeper had his hearing—three weeks after the removal of his bees without his knowledge—the state’s “evidence” had disappeared, leaving more questions than answers about the raid on the beekeeper’s hives.
Some people, including the beekeeper, Terrence Ingram, suspect the raid has more to do with Ingram’s 15 years of research on Monsanto’s Roundup and his documented evidence that Roundup kills bees, than it does about any concerns about his hives.
Interestingly, the state’s theft targeted the queen bee and hive he’d been using to conduct the research.
The Ingram Case
A recent article by Tom Kocal in the Prairie Advocate retells the full story of how Terrence Ingram’s bees and hives wound up being taken by the Illinois State Department of Agriculture (IDofAG)i.
While the state claims the removal of the property was due to Ingram’s failure to comply with the Department’s notice instructing him to burn the affected hives, they have been less than open about why the inspectors came in and took the bees and hives without due process.
At a time when the Ingram’s were absent from the property. Ingram claims the Department also conducted three out of four inspections on his private property while no one was home.
While Department inspectors claim his hives had foulbrood—an allegedly highly contagious disease—Mr. Ingram believes he could prove that this was not the case. As reported by the featured Prairie Advocate article:
“Ingram knew that the inspectors could not tell what they were seeing and had warned the Department that if any of them came back it would be considered a criminal trespass. Yet they came back when he was not home, stole his hives and ruined his 15 years of research.”
Ingram initially reported the missing bees and hives as having been stolen on March 14, unaware that they’d been removed by the IDofAG. News of the theft was published in the Prairie Advocate on March 21.
As a result of that article, an area County Farm Bureau manager called the reporter, stating he knew the equipment hadn’t been stolen, but that it had been “destroyed” by the Department of Agriculture because they were infected with foulbrood and Ingram hadn’t disposed of them as instructed.
The most nonsensical part of this story is that Ingram didn’t get a hearing to determine whether his hives were affected by the disease until three weeks after they were removed and destroyed.
Kocal quotes Mr. Ingram as saying:
“I own four businesses. I am here all the time. Yet they took our bees and hives when we were not home. What did they do, sit up on the hill and watch until we left? We had not yet had our day in court to prove that our hives did not have foulbrood!”
Making matters worse, during that April 4 hearing, the Department couldn’t produce any evidence of what they’d done with the bees and the hives. Meanwhile, Ingram ended up being ordered to pay the $500 fine for violating Sections 2-1 of the Illinois Bees and Apiaries Act. According to Kocal:
“There are 2 questions that Ingram wants answered:
1) Did the IDofA, a state agency, have the right to enter Ingram’s property and confiscate a suspected “nuisance,” before Ingram had his day in court?
2) Where are his bees? The “evidence” has disappeared, and the IDofA refuses to tell Ingram where they are, before, during, and after the hearing.
“I have been keeping bees for 58 years,” Ingram said during an interview at his home and apiary. “I am not a newcomer to beekeeping, and I definitely know what I am doing. I have been teaching beginning beekeeping classes for 40 years…” At the April 4 hearing, Ingram said he felt he was able to show the court that the inspector could not tell the difference between “chilled brood” and foulbrood. He also proved to the court that the inspectors did not know the symptoms of foulbrood.”
15 Years of Research Destroyed
Ingram believes the destruction of his bees and hives is more likely to be related to his research into the effect of Roundup on honey bees. He claims some 250 of his colonies have been killed off over the years by Monsanto’s broad-spectrum herbicide, used in large quantities on both conventional- and genetically engineered crops. Ingram’s research shows that Roundup can lead to what’s called chilled brood, which is an entirely different scenario.
According to Ingram, quoted from Kocal’s article:
“When Round-Up kills the adult bees there are not enough bees left in the hive to keep the young bees (brood) warm, and the young bees die from the cold (chilled brood). I tried to prove that just because foulbrood can be detected once the hive has been disturbed, doesn’t mean the hive has foulbrood.
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