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How do you keep your hives safe?

I'm not a bee keeper, but came across this on local news

What can you do to protect yourselves from this?

Unless there are definite signs of disturbance it is more than likely the Bees have swarmed off................... it is a swarming year and we have controlled 12 swarms from our 4 back garden beehives alone, many more from our other hives dotted about, and other peoples lost swarms that we have captured. One of my back garden hives (No2) is currently preparing to swarm again, and this I am trying to encourage artificially so I can embark upon a Queen rearing programme ................. I posted the first photos of this project on my Facebook account this morning.

Complete hive theft is almost rampant around here with between 30-50 hive thefts being reported in Norfolk already this year.... and it is someone, or a gang(s) of people who know how to handle bees.

The hives that we have that are not located in private gardens are each surrounded by 4 sections of temporary events type of 3.4 m long X 2 m high Heras style fencing covered in green "builders" mesh with additional chains and locks on them as required by our insurance company.

4 sections of fencing and 4 base blocks set us back 100 second hand for each remote hive, and I bought a load of condemned/out of service grade 10 X 13 mm lifting chains from a crane company, and a box of 50 large keyed alike shipping container door padlocks which cost us about another 10 each or with the chain 45.00 per remote hive. So reckon 150.00 worth of security for each colony of Bees worth between 650 (single super) and 750 (two supers).

The green "builders" mesh we get for free when clearing construction sites, and adding this to our hive fencing has a two fold affect. Bees are forced up and over the fencing and therefore over peoples heads when arriving or departing the hive, and if thieves should get inside the fencing and to the hives and disturb them they will be in a reasonably confined area with a lot of angry bees!

Neither Keith or I have suffered from hive theft (yet), but an unprotected neighbour on an adjacent plot on the allotments next to the ring road has, and the nearby Marlpit community garden recently had 3 or 4 hives stolen (for the 2nd time. )

Reading between the lines it's just the frames and bees that have been stolen not the actual hives themselves. This means that any theft won't be spotted until the hives are next opened so very difficult to pin down an actual time when the event occurs.

What can you do to protect them. Well not advertise their presence, visit often, and use places where the hives can't be seen from a road or footpath. try not to put your bee suit on too far away from the hives, carry equipment discreetly.

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