LACOMBE, La. — UPDATE: Northshore beekeeper says he found missing bees after WWL-TV report
A Northshore beekeeper for a now closed restaurant says he went to check on his hives and they were gone. Now, he just wants his bees back.
In his Mandeville backyard, Stan Maher has 17 bee hives.
"It is one of those few hobbies that will pay for itself," Maher said.
Five years ago, he partnered with La Provence, a Lacombe restaurant that prided itself on garden to table dishes. Maher owned and maintained eight bee hives for honey used in recipes, to pollinate the garden, and add to the attraction. He and the restaurant split the honey 50-50.
A year ago, La Provence closed. Maher and the chef at the time agreed to keep the hives on the property to potentially work with the future buyer. According to Maher, he agreed to move the hives if it became a problem.
"We had a deal," Maher claimed.
The beehives were kept in the garden behind La Provence. Maher visited them about once a month to check on them, but last week when he went by, it wasn't what he expected.
"There was nothing there," Maher said.
He and the former chef were surprised all of the hives, including the bees, frames and equipment, were gone.
"It was picked clean, it was picked clean," Maher said.
He estimates it was about $4,000 worth of hives and supplies, plus honey.
"I was most surprised at how much had been removed because of the weight of the hives, it took at least two people and it had to be someone who knew about bees. It was not malicious," Maher said.
We called the real estate agent who told us that the bank gave it away, but Eyewitness News could not confirm that.
"I'd like for my hives to be returned to me and made whole and I hope the honey hasn't been pulled off of it yet," Maher said.
Now he just hopes whoever has the bees will return them. Maher believes this all could be a misunderstanding, but he has not be able to get track them down since he found out they were missing a week ago. Maher does not want legal trouble, he is only asking for whoever has the bees to give them back.