Marco Beausoleil, arrested for making off with 5 million stolen honey bees from Saint-Valère, Que., will have to serve nine months probation and pay hefty fine for his actions.

He's been ordered to stay under 24-hour house arrest for the first five months of his sentence and pay a $40,000 fine, half of which will serve as restitution for the family who owned the hives.

Beausoleil, 38, pleaded guilty to the theft in September during a court appearance in Victoriaville. 

In April 2016, members of the Labonté family, were shocked to find that their honey-making operation in Saint-Valère was missing 184 hives.

Labonté family

The Labonté family was shocked to find that 184 hives had been stolen. (ICI Estrie/Marie-Hélène Rousseau)

Jean-Marc Labonté, of Miel Labonté, told Radio-Canada at the time of the robbery that most of his bees were working double time, making honey and servicing blueberry farmers in the Côte-Nord.

The practice of renting out bees to help pollinate and diversify crops is becoming increasingly popular in the industry, to the point where there often aren't enough bees to go around.

Marco Beausoleil's brother, Yannick, was also accused of robbery and possession of stolen goods but was acquitted.

Despite the outcome of the investigation, Labonté says the missing bees have never been found.

He estimates it will take about three years to rebuild his honey operation to the level it was in 2016.