To protect hives from theft, beekeepers can implement a variety of solutions:
• Fencing in the apiary or placing the hives in a fenced area. This reduces one of the causes of hive theft, as hives are often in the open on plots of land that anyone can access—including bee thieves. But this isn’t always feasible since hives are often located on farmers' land, in the woods, or on another landowner's land.
• The beekeeper can mark various hive elements: body, comb, floor, and even the frames. This can be done by engraving, pyrography, branding or painting a number or a unique mark. These marks or numbers may allow the beekeeper to recognize his equipment if anyone attempts to resell it, or to help local authorities identify it. At the very least, we recommend that each beekeeper implement a discreet method to allow family and neighbors to recognize hive components more easily.
• Placing security/alarm signage around the apiary can deter theft. BeeGuard proposes an official sign where you can indicate compulsory information (France has a NAPI number) as well as alert any would-be thieves of surveillance.
• A well placed, autonomous, infrared camera allows you to record any comings and goings. Installation of this security camera will cover the whole apiary in case of theft, but its positioning is critical because if the vehicle or the hive thief cannot be identified, the video footage will not be useful.
• The ultimate solution is a GPS hive tracker. This device works as a silent alarm by detecting movement when the thief moves the beehive. The beehive tracker then switches to silent alarm mode and notifies the owner instantly with an SMS.
From there, the hive lock will regularly transmit the coordinates of the hive during its movement and until its stop position thanks to GPS satellites. This is why these tools are called GPS trackers. The beekeeper will be able to contact the authorities by providing the data recorded in the application: the time of the theft and the hives’ new location.
The beekeeper will then be able to recover his hives with his bees and not suffer the operating loss corresponding to a hive theft, whose damage can run about €600 per hive (hive + swarm + past treatment and feeding + production loss). And the thief can be confused. A word of caution: several types of GPS hive anti-theft devices exist, but few are really designed to work in a hive.
Well-informed beekeepers will want to choose GPS hive units with standard rechargers but that don’t need to be constantly recharged. (After all, it’s tedious to plug a USB plug on a bee frame). They should have enough autonomy to cover the entire season and tout a modern and international communication system. (Beehive thieves have no borders). Thus, options include GPS anti-theft hives that work with GSM or GPRS networks.
BeeGuard offers a GPS anti-theft device specially designed and manufactured for beehives and beekeepers. It’s placed on the frames thanks to the wax produced by the bees and offers other functions in addition to GPS tracking: measurement of the internal temperature of the brood, communication with optional scales or access to the apiary management application including the breeding register.
Several beekeepers have already reported having thwarted hive thefts thanks to our GPS hive tracker system.