Rachel Kearney and David Yanke, who have been breeding queen bees in the Paranui Valley, inland from Taipa, for more than 30 years, have no doubt that many of their hives were maliciously poisoned over Easter weekend (New low for booming industry, April 12).

At last count they had lost 360 four-frame nucs, 41 hives, and 20 five-frame F/D breeding programme nucs with inseminated queens.

They said yesterday that they believed they knew who was responsible for poisoning the hives, but now they had had another setback. Last week a number of queen-rearing nucs were stolen from one of their bee yards in Paranui.

"Three people were involved, one either a small-footed woman or child," they said.

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"Please keep a look-out for our nucs. There wouldn't be any others similar in New Zealand, and we've never sold any. They are painted grey or pink, have two entrance holes at the front, as per the picture, a permanent divide in the middle and stainless steel mesh bottoms.

"The robbing screens may have been removed."

Anyone with any information should contact the police.