(CN) – A Georgia orchard demands $16,000 in damages for a shipment of lousy bee sperm. It claims the 189 “bee nucs,” or nuclei, that the defendant sold it for $85 apiece were year-old queens who had “run out of their supply of sperm.”
Hillside Orchard Farms sued Billy Engle individually and dba Rose Creek Honey Farm and B.J. Weeks and Weeks Works, in Cherokee County Court, Canton, Ga.
Hillside says it bough 189 “bee nucs with corresponding queens” from the defendants for $15,065 in April 2010. A bee nuc is, in essence, the starter frame and population of a working hive.
Hillside says the defendants knew it wanted new queens.
“Instead, defendants sent one-year-old queens that would not be sufficient for plaintiff’s beekeeping needs. In 2010 and 2011, the bees supplied by defendants failed an died due to the age of the queens and the fact that they had run out of their supply of sperm This occurred during the middle of summer and during the honey flow. Due to the queens’ lack of sperm, they were only able to lay unfertilized drone eggs, which are unsuitable for honey production,” according to the complaint.
Hillside seeks damages for fraud and breach of contract. It adds: “Defendants have acted in a stubbornly litigious manner and have caused plaintiff unnecessary trouble and expense.” It also seeks attorney’s fees and costs.
Hillside is represented by Mitchell Baker Jr. of Clayton, Ga.
Queen bees mate just once, then lay as many as 2,000 eggs a day for life.