The 73-year-old owner of a row of bee hives, stationed at the edge of a tree nursery near Hildesheim, reported that his best producer was missing just over three weeks ago.
Shortly afterwards another owner was stung to note one of his hives had been stolen from a row of three along the side of allotments not far away.
Bee hives can weigh up to 30 kilos, and can house between 10,000 and 15,000 bees. A thriving hive can be worth hundreds of euros, police said.
Both of the robbed apiarists told police they were convinced that the bee rustlers must have been fellow fans of the striped insects. “Amateurs would not know how to deal with a bee hive,” a Hildesheim police statement said.