Tracking stolen hives

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by efmesch, Dec 1, 2013.

  1. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    My vocabulary doesn't include the proper name for what I'm interested in finding, but maybe someone on the forum can help me out.
    Does anyone know of a system whereby a beek can insert an electronic "something" that broadcasts it's location? It could be that I'm thinking of something that doesn't exist, but mayne it is out there on market or maybe someone wants to pick up on the idea and develop it:
    The idea: an electronic chip that could be attached to of inserted into some wooden part of the hive and broadcasts (or responds to a cell-phone call) and can give a GPS accounting of its location. The idea is to be able to check if your hives are where you put them or have been "moved" (stolen?).
    Even better would be something that gets activated when the hive is moved and tells you, in real time, about it and where it is.
     
  2. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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  3. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    Thanks Perry. :thumbsup: I can always count on you in a pinch. Through following your link----to link----to link--- I found the word I needed---a "Tracker" and several potential candidates . Now I have to go through all these links and see what tricks the manufacturers claim they can manage.
    Now the big question is "Does anyone here have experience with using a tracker to find stolen hives?
    Any info positive or negative, would be appreciated. I would hate to see good money invested on a lemon.
     
  4. DMLinton

    DMLinton New Member

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    Hi, Ef;

    The technology does, indeed, exist. I am not an expert although I have just completed building a navigation/tracking system for my vehicle - I drive a lot of miles sometimes and some people - boss, kids, ex's - want to know where I am. It uses my cell phone to FTP location info to my web server.
    If you are into building your own, the open source Arduino technology would be a good place to start looking. There are GPS (for location detection) and GPSM (for communicating to home base) modules available that basically plug into the base Arduino unit, which is really a micro computer on about a 2" x 3" board. Hardware, except power supply, for one complete unit might be less than $60 CDN. Strangely, technology availability and cost are more or less none issues but power supply for long term installations can be - especially where one does not want the presence of the unit to be apparent as a solar panel would advertise.
    Alternatively, there are devices commercially available although I have no idea of cost. Think vehicle tracking by law enforcement or suspicious wives. It's the same techology that transportation companies use to track vehicle/load locations.
    I will be building this technology into my hives once I grow beyond a backyard bee yard.
     
  5. DMLinton

    DMLinton New Member

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    As long as the unit is powered and the communications link exists, it is really just a matter of going to the location reported. The technology is reliable. I have not used it for hive tracking but it is almost exactly the same as geocaching - you have a set of coordinates and you set out to find the cache. Lots of custom agrculture operators use the technology no only to tell them which piece of land is to be worked but where the access to the field is. We had some extremely dry weather here last Spring and one guy was telling me that, were is not for the GPS system on his tractor, he would had to have shutdown operations on a couple of occasions as the amount of dust made visibility nearly zero.

    The biggest "problem" would be where one finds that the missing hives are in a location that cannot be accessed legally - requiring involvement of law enforcement.

    For what it's worth, the University of Montana has patented electronic bee hive monitoring (http://www.google.com.bz/patents/US6910941). Hence, there are patent issues around purchasing a hive monitoring system. You can, however, build and deploy your own as I understand it.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2013
  6. Primeonly27

    Primeonly27 New Member

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    Not sure about where to buy it, but a beek friend of mine was telling me about drilling holes in the sides or bottoms of box and putty over micro chips they implant in dog and cats. The company also gives you signs to put up and around the hives to denture theft. Some how he got his hives back after someone who was ripping off not just one beeks hives, but many and one had the gps thing in it and the cops showed up to the dudes yard where he was repainting boxes and selling them. The animal police came had a magic wand took it to all the hives on the dude prop and notified the other beeks involved that they found their hive bodies from the putty covered rfid chips and some still had their name and phone numbers on the sides.
     
  7. Zulu

    Zulu Member

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    I have looked at this not for hives but other assets , active GPS driven trackers will need a power source, the RFID chips are tiny and would be awesome to confirm ownership after you find where they have been taken, as you can drill a tiny hole and hide them. So by adding chips to each and every hive part and only having one tracker in the apiary you might get success if they steal all of them
    Non active trackers wont work as they only collate data about movement and you have to have access to the device to download where it went afterwards.

    So somehow you still need one active system, and these also require a monthly subscription ($15-35 / month) as they mostly use the cellphone network. Of course these are not small and need to be charged or a solar cell or power source .......

    At serious pricing ($3500) you do get high power RFID that works up to 1500 ft away (300 meters) and could put the detectors on an entrance to an apiary / or roadway and get a solid notification if any hives were ever moved out, and then use webcams etc for the security part. Of course this could work if you have suspicion and could drive within 300 meters of the stolen hives you would get a ping back.

    The new Tile as depicted above is very interesting and looks like it could be cost effective, but the battery lasts one season only, and you return the device for a new one. Again it uses Cell technology. I am sure you could make a slot in a deep and hide it.

    So no easy answers (yet) but looking like we are getting closer to a cost effective system
     
  8. Primeonly27

    Primeonly27 New Member

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    Burn them up!

    Zulu the wheels in my head are spinning. I think you are on the right track about having rfid chips in all the hives. Then having readers in the ground that would trip an alarm that was hooked up to solar panels or ideally both solar battery & line power hooked to a wifi and or hard internet line and yes maybe a cell and your looking at lots of money. Maybe low tech look into a dog collar shocker and the underground wire that activates it then read up on some basic pyrotechnics and you get the idea. Drive away with my hives I will burn your truck up!

    Had to make some edits, but still laughing about the guys rig that goes up in flames.

    The idea would be to light you hives on fire with some type of dry chemical not blow them up. All you would need is for one or two to get going. And the thief would not get very far and possibly loose their rig in more ways than one.
     
  9. Zulu

    Zulu Member

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    Love it :lol:
     
  10. ApisBees

    ApisBees Active Member

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    Why not buy a game trait web cam set it up in a birds nest hung on a post or tree. with inferred motion detector.
     
  11. Barbarian

    Barbarian New Member

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    We also have hive thieves in the UK.

    I am unsure as to how effective a tracker/id chip would be for me. From the reports, it seems that the thief is likely to be a repeat offender. The target is the bees in the hive, not the hardware or honey. It would suggest that the thief steals to replace dead-outs or sell the bees on. There is at least one record of a beekeeper going to his hives and finding that 5 or 6 brood frames have been taken from each hive. Where the full hive has gone, I fear that a tracker would lead to a local dump or bonfire.

    I think that some kind of trail cam might help. In other crimes/incidents CCTV would seem to help in identifying people involved.