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How to avoid Hive Heist

On beekeeping forums and unfortunately in apiaries, beehives heist are frequent. The beekeepers whose hives disappeared, of course, remained traumatized and furious by this unpleasant experience. This article sets out the measures at our disposal to prevent this phenomenon.

Almost everyone has heard of it or knows someone who has gone through it. Theft concerns beehives or colonies, even the queen or simply supers.

This phenomenon is on the increase and what is all the more frustrating is that it is committed by beekeepers or in any case people who know bees.

Here is an inventory of the measures to be taken to avoid and / or reduce the risk of theft.

A secure apiary

At home

The ideal is to have an apiary at home, out of sight and with constant surveillance. This is probably one of the best measures to take because thieves fear being disturbed or spotted.

Unfortunately, not all beekeepers are able to keep bees at home. In addition, many beekeepers have several apiaries or practice transhumance.

In these cases, other measures must be taken.

Elsewhere than at home


If the apiary is not at home, the minimum is that it is not visible from the street. You don't steal what you can't see. It may not be enough, but avoid tempting the devil.

Protect access to the apiary.

A sturdy gate, with a padlock and a thorn hedge. Hawthorn works wonders and provides nectar and pollen.

Few padlocks will withstand a grinder, but it will deter a thief without hardware.


Marking of beehives

Marking beehives is also a deterrent to thieves. The ideal is the hot stamping in the wood of the beehive. Provide your name, address and phone number.

This solution is imperfect because it is still possible to sand the marking. However, this leaves traces and indicates that the hive has been stolen. Here is a good quality marking kit.

Frame marking

It is often useful to mark the frames or the inside of beehives as well. Indicate for example your name and telephone number below the frames. Same thing inside the hives. Few thieves will go to this place to check. If we find the hives, you can prove that they belong to you.

Make the job of thieves more difficult

Tie up beehives

It is a fairly simple job to do. A few screws and angles allow you to attach the tray to its support. Again, this is not the miracle solution but it blocks the thief without a screwdriver or delays the one with the material. I advise you to use less common Torx screws and therefore more difficult to unscrew without the proper tool.

You can also connect the hives to each other with a cable that you pass through a fixing eyelet fixed in each hive and that you close with a good padlock. It is impossible to remove the hives thus joined together.

Identify thieves

A fairly effective technique is to get pictures of thieves. As such, there are infrared vision surveillance cameras that are triggered when they detect movement.

The art is to place them judiciously to take pictures of the thieves before they wear a jumpsuit. A photo of the license plates is perfect for their identification. Their location will therefore be chosen with care, well hidden so that they are not taken away.

Identify blown hives using a GPS tracker

There are also GPS trackers to identify the location of an object. Each hive must be equipped with a beacon that sends a signal to a server. By connecting to the server you can locate your hive and even see its movement.

Disadvantage, the beacon must be recharged regularly to send a signal. The recharge frequency is once every six months. This system requires a subscription in order to access the server. It is usually supplied with a sticker indicating that the hives are equipped with an anti-theft device.

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