A Howard County, Md., beekeeper said he is out $4,000 because someone stole five of his beehives from a wooded area in Savage.

Seventy-four-year-old Don Kolpack has been a beekeeper for more than 50 years and believes the theft wasn't a one-person job. Each hive weighs about 75 pounds.

Hive theft has become more common around the country, in part because of a mysterious condition that has devastated bee colonies in recent years and has driven honey prices higher, according to beekeping experts.

In some parts of the country, companies are offering security devices for tracking hive movement.

There was one reported hive theft in Maryland last year and two in 2006.