RFID tags are small passive chips which broadcast a unique number. These are the devices used in inventory tracking, shoplifting control, embedded in the spines of library books, and in animal studies. The technology is unpowered, they have a passive antenna that picks up radio waves and oscillates in response. Tags are read by radio scanners, and tags with large antenna loops can be read from tens of feet away permitting semi-automated ID collection at inspection stations.
RFID can be embedded, undetectable in hive bodies. Artwork is protected by drilling a cavity in the frame and inserting the chip and invisibly plugging the hole. Library books are protected by inserting a long needle like chip in the cover spine. These can be read passively by radio as the patron exits the building. The Valley dairies use ear tags with chips to automatically maintain milk cow inventory and production at every milking. I've used chips smaller than grains of rice in mark and recapture studies of wild animals. Famously, individual bees are being chipped and autoread on hive entry in studies.
Chips can be purchased for 0.15 per unit.
An administrative change to require RFID tagged beehives passing the California inspection stations would trap stolen beehives within the state. Hives without tags would be prohibited from entry or exit, effectively making the ID tagging universal.
A policy change to require RFID scanning (and tag # record submission) on the subset of beehives tallied for frame count at pollination would isolate stolen beehives to the suspicious subset of orchards that don't bother with contracts.
A European company markets a RFID for Beehive system -- viz: http://www.apitrack.com/index_en_open.htm
BeeAlert (a Missoula, MT) company has a stand-alone tracking system See: http://beealert.blackfoot.net/~beeal...sec/sentry.php
The BeeAlert system uses a passive readable chip --Hive Marker™--(a peel and stick label) or a powered (middle distance) unit --HiveTracker.
I would propose the extant chokepoint (border inspection) and the existing third-party inspection system presents two ideal theft sentry opportunities. What is needed is universal adoption of a chipping requirement.