Several firearms have been found in the search for several hundred beehives stolen in the western Bay of Plenty.
The sting saw thousands of dollars' worth of hives recovered at an address on Waipapa Block Rd.
While three-quarters had been disguised, repainted or ID numbers removed, police have been able to identify hives stolen from three separate burglaries.
The firearms found at the address included a semi-automatic shotgun and three rifles, two of them semi-automatic, as well as a "large amount" of ammunition.
Detective Senior Sergeant Greg Turner said there's been an increase in beehive thefts recently in the area.
"So we suggest keeping hives in paddocks away from public view, as well as using pressure pads, tracking devices, and outdoor surveillance cameras," he said.
It comes after nearly half a million bees were stolen from the Hawke's Bay, which has left the region's largest honey company in a sticky situation.
Arataki Honey beekeeper Duncan Johnson said the thievery is the worst it's been in his 20 years on the job.
"The industry used to be a real gentleman's game and now all of a sudden this 'underground' element has crept in. It's hugely disappointing."
Snr Sgt Turner doesn't believe the two thefts are linked, but told Newshub police are "keeping an open mind".