Thieves have rustled more than million bees from a Matamata beekeeper.
John Tyler lost 28 hives, and their 1.125 million industrious inhabitants, in the November 7 or 8 robbery from a Te Poi farm paddock, the Matamata Chronicle reported.
Each hive contained about 50,000 bees, weighed 25 kilograms and was worth about $7500.
The robbery of his winged workers, requiring at least two men and a truck, has left a bitter taste in Mr Tyler's mouth.
The hives were not insured.
"(I'm) stunned, I suppose. I'm pretty upset," he told the newspaper.
The beekeeper was coming into the busiest part of his year, with fruitgrowers needing his bees to pollinate their plants.
"Each beehive would have fetched about $150 for pollination. Then there was the honey crop. A drum of manuka could reach anything from $5000 to $10,000," Mr Tyler said.