Investigators south of Houston are trying to determine who killed more than 500,000 bees by setting hives on fire, toppling some over and tossing others into a pond.
The vandalism was discovered early Saturday when a Brazoria County sheriff's deputy patrolling a rural road near Alvin saw flames shooting up from a field.
Steven Brackman, head of the Brazoria County Beekeepers Association, says the destruction occurred at a critical time, in part because queen bees are laying thousands of eggs a day at this time of year.
The latest news from around North Texas.
The 20 hives were home to European honeybees, which experts say are declining globally due to pesticides and a parasite that shortens their lifespan.
Authorities say it appeared to be an intentional act of vandalism.