Vandals have destroyed dozens of beehives in Iowa, killing at least 500,000 bees, the honey business owners said. All of their hives were knocked over and the bees died as they were unable to survive in the freezing temperatures.

The owners of Wild Hill Honey in Sioux Falls, Iowa found their honey business in a gruesome state on Thursday. “We went to clean snow from our hives on the west side near Woodbury Heights and found complete destruction of all our hives and supply shed,” the owners wrote in a Facebook post. All 50 hives were destroyed, killing hundreds of thousands of bees, they said.

Justin Engelhardt, one of the owners, told AP that the vandals knocked over the hives, killing around 500,000 bees. The damage was estimated at up to $60,000, he said, adding that the incident “probably sunk us.”

“I knew it was going to be bad we went around the shed every hive was knocked over, dead bees in the snow, it was terrible,” Englehardt told CBS news.

Freezing temperatures can be deadly for bees. “Bees will cluster together on the frame to stay warm and you can see these guys died in their cluster,” Engelhardt said.
In the meantime, Wild Hill Honey followers decided to raise money to restore the business, collecting $30,000 in just two days. The Wild Hill Honey owners say the amount is enough to re-start the business in the spring.

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