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By - Craig Mullins

BeeHive Theft & Security How to Secure Your Hives in California

Beehive theft can be a huge problem when hives aren’t secure. Learn how to secure your California beehives in this guide.
Bee Hive Theft & Security
Bee Hive Theft & Security

You’ve no doubt put in countless hours and hard work into developing and caring for your beehives. Unfortunately for many California beekeepers, your bees could be the target of thieves who want your hives to supplement their own mistreatment or neglect.

Once your hives are stolen, it can be tricky to track them down and prove theft without taking the proper precautions ahead of time. Many hives, beekeeping suits, and gear look the same, so how would you tell yours apart from someone else?

If you want to learn how to avoid beehive theft and protect your livelihood, you’re in the right place! We’ve compiled five quick tips you should consider today before it’s too late.

Is Beehive Theft a Real Threat?

Until you experience it first hand, it can be hard to believe that beehives in California are being targeted by thieves. Because of their necessity for crops and their diminishing numbers, people are stealing hives from Californian beekeepers. Those who bring their bees here to help pollinate during the winter in their states are also experiencing this loss, which isn’t helping California’s crops.

When a beehive is stolen, they’re more susceptible to diseases and neglect, which can be heartbreaking for those who work diligently to protect their hives and care for their bees. Every year, hundreds of beehives are stolen, which is hundreds of thousands of precious bees being neglected or killed for profit.

How to Secure Beehives

Learning how to secure beehives in California starts by understanding the “Five Cs.” If you’re a current beekeeper or interested in learning how to start, these five tips can help you take steps to prevent theft from happening.

1. Install Cameras to Monitor the Site

As with any disaster preparedness, you must take the proper steps to prevent issues from happening whenever possible. Installing cameras is an easy way to monitor your investment and prove theft should the event occur. Security cameras come in a variety of different styles and price ranges, so it’s best to choose the ones that suit your needs best and make it clear that the location is under surveillance.

It’s also a good idea to install motion detection lights or even alarms if no one will be onsite or near your hives overnight. Many hive thefts are happening in the late evening, but bright lights could help you alert suspicious characters and encourage them to move along because someone’s watching. It’s also a good idea to register your security cameras with local authorities.

2. Keep Your Hive Out of Public View

While this may not be possible in all instances based on where you keep your hives and how many hives you manage, it’s an excellent way to protect them. If thieves don’t know the bees are there, they won’t look for ways to steal them.

Protecting California beehives takes a little extra work because of the increasing rate of theft, so taking extra precautions is advised. Making a little extra effort to hide your bees could be the difference between having an encounter with thieves and not.

3. Limit Access to Your Hives

Many beekeepers wear the same thing while tending to their hives because it’s what’s available on the market. Your neighbors are a great way to keep extra eyes on your hives, but how can you help them learn the difference between friend and foe?

Consider making your beekeepers wear a suit with a bold logo or alternate color that isn’t white to help invaders stand out. It’s also a good idea to put your bees in an area where there won’t be much traffic, so it’s more evident if someone is snooping around.

4. Mark Your Hive Equipment

Just like your beekeeping suit, mark up all of your gear and your hives with your business name or logo. If your hives and gear are stolen, and other beekeepers have stolen equipment, it’ll be easier to get your goods back if there’s a way to differentiate your hives.

The more thorough you are in marking your materials, including the suits, hive boxes, and all associated gear, the less likely you’ll have things stolen. It’s much more difficult for a thief to resell or claim possession of items that clearly belong to another individual.

5. Use Tracking Devices

One of the easiest and most effective ways to reclaim stolen hives is by using covert tracking devices. Something that you can hide in the hive that will help you find it is a sure way always to know where your hives are and if they’re somewhere they shouldn’t be.

It’s best to install tracking devices in your strongest hives since those are usually the ones that thieves will target. Even if they only take one, you’ll be able to use the tracker to find the rest.

Where to Start

The best place to start is by taking a look at your current beehive setup. Where are your beehives located, and how many people have access to that area regularly? Do you openly advertise honey on your property and invite strangers to your space where your hives are located?

Consider taking steps to protect your bees by moving them away from high-traffic areas and reducing outside interaction in your hive spaces. It’s also a good idea to invest in security cameras and tracking devices depending on your beekeeping business’s size and how well known your company is in your area.

Each step you take will help make you less of a target and help keep your bees protected year after year. For more tips about Aquaculture and Farming, check out these other informative articles on my blog.

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