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  1. #1
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    Default RFID tags for theft deterrence

    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.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: RFID tags for theft deterrence

    I think Cali would find they suddenly would have a shortage of pollinators willing to truck bees into the state if they passed such a law. There was a huge push to institute a NLIS several years ago in the USA and it was met with such opposition the law died. Beekeepers are a special sort who generally would not like Big Brother telling them what to do. They are minimally complaint with hive registration laws as it is... Try and tell them they have to microchip their hives? That is a laugh.

    0.15 per unit isn't going to pay for enforcement. Where is the money to seize and store non-compliant beehives going to come from? And it will not deter a thief. Europe has a huge problem with hive thefts even with chip tracking... thieves simply shake out the hives and leave them behind, install the bees in new hives and chip them with their own IDs
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: RFID tags for theft deterrence

    Yup, I know all about "rugged individualism". You are saying these pioneer types are going to walk away from a $175 check cause they can't stand the idea of spending 0.15 cents. I didn't think so.

    I would guess a burn pile of 200 hive bodies in March might attract some attention. Deterrence by raising the cost and complications in theft works to reduce its incidence.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: RFID tags for theft deterrence

    And as soon as we accept the need for one behind our own ears it will be better!

  5. #5
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    Default Re: RFID tags for theft deterrence

    What is the point of requiring the beekeepers to do this? It might make sense for the state to look for them and a standard to be set, but if someone doesn't want to spend the money, why punish the honest people who don't want to?
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  6. #6
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    Default Re: RFID tags for theft deterrence

    That argumentative fallacy, "reductio ad absurdum". Has licensing your Ford resulted in black helicopters and "one world government". Didn't think so. Has the rabies tag on your Queensland Heeler generated legions of Jack-booted thugs. Not, in any but the most fevered imagination.

    Collective action to end hive theft is a common good. Freedom from the threat of rabies due to domestic dog bites pays social dividends daily. Governments exist to facilitate collective action. We formed a constitutional government at the founding of the republic, we did not opt for an anarchic "state of nature".

  7. #7
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    Default Re: RFID tags for theft deterrence

    My horses are all chipped. No one passed a law requiring it. The slaughter houses (which have all been shut down now) would check for chips and stolen horses could be recovered, which is a good thing. It did not require a law that said they had to be chipped but it did require a law that the slaughter houses had to check for the chips.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  8. #8
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    Default Re: RFID tags for theft deterrence

    I chipped my dogs several years ago because I had one with epilepsy who would have seizures and loose track of where he was and I figured if anybody turned him into a vet they would scan him. Well we went on vacation over the Christmas holiday one year and he vanished. I started to get worried and contacted the local dog warden who informed me he had picked up the dog out front of my in-laws place where we were staying... he saw it in their yard and knew they didn't have a dog so he took it to the local vet who served as a holding area for stray dogs. I called the vet, but it was after hrs on a holiday weekend. If they gave him a bowl of food and left him for the weekend he would be dead by Monday without his meds. So we called their 24 hr hotline and they got a message through to the vet. The vet said they didn't even scan him because they never run across chipped dogs.
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: RFID tags for theft deterrence

    JW. I have been working on this for a while. Myself and old Roland have been beating some ideas back and forth for some time. For the past year I have imbedded chips in boxes, frames, and a few other items to field test them.

    Lots involved in making sure the chips are secure, will give a long life and are placed in a manner which will facilitate possible uses like auto truck loading capabilities for pallets.

    You will get different read ranges on the same antennas depending on where you embed the chips and what material you cover them with. I have tested two part epoxy, silicon. polys, and you name it.

    With passive chips I have read ranges off the front of boxes up to 30 feet but 10-12 is a more realistic number. Strangely enough a chip embedded in the back side of a supper full of honey will often read prior one in the inside of the front. I have been able to get constant reads on the front side of a box on the back side of a pallet when reading through a full super of honey. I think this is necessary for anyone who is going to keep track of equipment going on and off of trucks en mass.

    One of the big challenges I have is that I think it is also necessary to have a good visual readable marking system to be used on the exterior of the boxes in conjunction with the rfid inside. Getting supper long lasting tags with either barcarole, data matrix, and or human readable numbers that will last 40 years is quite expensive. I have 500 new super sitting here waiting for their chips but i am holding off until I have the outside of the box squared up also.

    We already have a printer encoder for the chips as well as a GPS enabled handheld rfid scanner. If anyone wants to go in with me on a laser marking system so i can make stainless steel tags for the outside at a reasonable price per tag (under $3 each) send me a PM. Here is my dream version of on demand do it yourself tag making system. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jCL2G_V1uOA )

    As each chip can be locked down under password with a unique ID the next step in this whole thing will be getting a system where robotic UAV's could overfly massive field of almonds looking for stolen equipment. When someone offer this as a subscription service ( although very expensive) the use in theft deterrence is almost solely based on the fact that once found the ID of a box, frame, lid, or pallet is irrefutable.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: RFID tags for theft deterrence

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    Yup, I know all about "rugged individualism". You are saying these pioneer types are going to walk away from a $175 check cause they can't stand the idea of spending 0.15 cents. I didn't think so.

    I would guess a burn pile of 200 hive bodies in March might attract some attention. Deterrence by raising the cost and complications in theft works to reduce its incidence.
    Why burn them? You leave them empty in the field it could be a week or more before a crew comes around to check on them... and then they may just drive by and look and see the hives are still there... By the time the owner realized CCD struck their yard the thief can have his newly populated and chipped hives back on the east coast.

    You are way underestimating the cost of this. For it to work as a deterrent to theft the state would have to inspect and scan every load of bees rolling out of California. That means personnel and/or scanning equipment on the ground on every road 24 hrs a day. It will require a database and personnel to maintain and update that database regularly. It would require law enforcement officers on the ready to mobilize and seize suspect loads..... The cost isn't going to be 15 cents... it is going to be billions of dollars that the tax payer isn't going to agree to pay in order to keep a handful of out of state beekeepers from getting their hives stolen.
    Last edited by bluegrass; 02-10-2014 at 12:02 PM.
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: RFID tags for theft deterrence

    Quote Originally Posted by bluegrass View Post
    The cost isn't going to be 15 cents... it is going to be billions of dollars
    Billions? Automated, completely unattended RFID readers exist on every Walmart warehouse roller line. Trucks are already bar-code scanned, in case you have failed to notice.

    The thing about deterrence is as soon as the likelihood of apprehension rises marginally, the smart thief exits. The universe of crooked, bent beekeepers with access to skidsteers and the wherewithal to support a flatbed is not so big. Those folks are smart enough to run a biz, and also smart enough to realize when the gig is up. That means that even moderate levels of sub-sampling would be enough to end the all too easy load-some-pallets-and-repaint-in-a-barn thievery.

    Honey-4, thanks for the progress update. I don't want to serve as a lightning rod for the "I'm scared of the black helicopters" crowd, so I will sign off the thread to avoid the political morass. Suffice to say collective action, whether voluntary, motivated by enlightened self-interest, or mandated is sometimes necessary for civil progress. Your championing of a simple, non-powered system of remote ownership marking may be the catalyst necessary for the retrogrades to accept its need.

    No animal can leave my county shelter without a chip. They are nearly universal. Too bad Connecticut has not moved forward.
    Last edited by JWChesnut; 02-10-2014 at 01:27 PM.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: RFID tags for theft deterrence

    Quote Originally Posted by bluegrass View Post
    . The vet said they didn't even scan him because they never run across chipped dogs.
    Chipping pets and horses is very common if not the norm where I live...and at international vet conferences most would consider it the norm. In our area not checking for a chip would be considered negligence.
    Also for those who have pets those that distribute Rabies vaccines to veterinarians supply rabies tags to be given out when a pet is vaccinated.These tags have a qr code that can be read by cell phones etc. the owner sets up the info..contact info, med info etc and this can be changed as circumstances change.
    Nothing to do with bees...simply a pet owners FYI.
    Janne....first hives April 2013, 19 hives, treat, plant zone 8b, at sea level, latitude 49.13, longitude 123.06

  13. #13
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    Default Re: RFID tags for theft deterrence

    Walmart is a business that looks at the bottom line. If you get a bureaucracy like the federal gov, or especially the California gov, they can take a cheap idea and drive up the cost by 1000x.

    I think it's a brilliant idea, and well thought out. Here's the way I would encourage enforcement: We as beekeepers, especially the commercial ones, agree to only provide bees to growers that check RFID. It's a voluntary program. So, the grower that verifies he checks gets first dibs on getting bees. The grower that doesn't, either works with the thieves, or plays a gamble that there will be a surplus of pollinator providers that will be desperate to give him bees even if he doesn't check.

    Since it doesn't sound like they have a surplus of pollinators, the latter issue doesn't seem likely. Beekeepers in effect then blackball the growers. That'll put the fear of God into em. They won't risk it.

    Now, there will be some that check, but I doubt they'll refuse a truckload of bees on their doorstep at the peak of pollinating season. However, there is the flip side. If you show up, and your bees aren't registered, then I as a grower may not feel I need to give you full price, as you may be trying to service my fields with stolen bees.

    Just a thought.

    Rob.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: RFID tags for theft deterrence

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    Billions? Automated, completely unattended RFID readers exist on every Walmart warehouse roller line. Trucks are already bar-code scanned, in case you have failed to notice.

    The thing about deterrence is as soon as the likelihood of apprehension rises marginally, the smart thief exits. The universe of crooked, bent beekeepers with access to skidsteers and the wherewithal to support a flatbed is not so big. Those folks are smart enough to run a biz, and also smart enough to realize when the gig is up. That means that even moderate levels of sub-sampling would be enough to end the all too easy load-some-pallets-and-repaint-in-a-barn thievery.
    So how exactly is your un-maned RFID reader going to prevent the truckload of stolen hives that just passed through it from rolling across state lines and into Nevada?

    Look up what walmart posts as it's losses due to theft each year and then come back and explain how the risk of getting caught scares off smart thieves... I would think it is the opposite..... I doubt that the art heist of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum was pulled off by not so smart thieves. The chips might scare off the crime of opportunity type, but the career criminal type will simply find away to block or disable the chips and remark the hives with their own.
    Last edited by bluegrass; 02-10-2014 at 04:02 PM.
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: RFID tags for theft deterrence

    As honey-4-all stated, this RFID tag project is not as easy as you would think. I can not get any service out of any of the vendors I have contacted. The Tag manufacturer "SAID" he shipped me some samples. Ha!!!!. The reader people are friends of Ian's(not literally), eh, and will not return my calls either. The word must be out that us beekeepers are CHEAP.

    Crazy Roland

  16. #16
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    Default Re: RFID tags for theft deterrence

    Quote Originally Posted by bluegrass View Post
    So how exactly is your un-maned RFID reader going to prevent the truckload of stolen hives that just passed through it from rolling across state lines and into Nevada?
    Only a fool would say that any solution to a problem is the only full and complete solution. Would be like me saying back in 85 I got the bee gig down and there are no problems that I can't whip ( my friend the varroa tossed that one out the window didn't it? )

    Rfid chips could be imbedded to be scanned by a portal ( gate entrance) tied to a cell system to notify you of an "escape." Would help but would not not a perfect solution.

    My goals with rfid are more strongly tied to data collection and aggregation than theft deterrence. Although it is true that if a tagged item was stolen it could be more easily be verified as being the property of the owner if a rfid chip was embedded. Some of the User Id sections of the tags now are able to hold over 500 bits. That is a lot of unique numbers one could assign.

    To remedy the cross the border tracking one would need to utilize an item like we use now similar to the Spot Trac of which I have posted previously... Right now we have one of our package hauling trailers getting retrofitted at a shop in a town known for a pretty high crime rate. Before he hauled it down there my son took the tracker and imbedded it in one of the Air conditioners on the roof. Each night I get a text with the GPS position and will be notified if ANYONE moves it. Once that happens I can track it every 5 minutes. If some nut tries to drive off with the trailer he is going to hope fairly soon that the cops find his sorry bum before I do. Same thing can be done with hives.....

    As for a person who snagged a box removing the chips I would have to agree that that is possible. Unfortunately for the 5 finger clowns it would take them a lot of effort which would reduce the box to a pile of sawdust if they were dead set on accomplishing the goal of destroying the chips. In my case I am planning on putting 4 each of some $0.15 chips in each supper for a bunch of reasons beyond theft deterrence. Taking four of them out of commission would be more work than buying new boxes.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: RFID tags for theft deterrence

    With a million hives moving out of California each spring is would take a significant system to handle the database. You would have to have tracking linked to a computer network that would register all the codes as they moved in and out the state. With each truck having 200 to 400 (max load I don't know???) hives on it those scanners have to process quite a bit of data very fast. This is not the hard part, but beyond most the current scanners I have messed with in the field.

    Then you have Honey-4-All with 4 chips in each box adding additional data logging to the system. Can it be done? Yes it can. But what stopped the USDA from adopting this for cattle to track mad cow disease is the cost of this tracking system, the programing, and reluctance to use it by the farmers. Data would have to be processed hourly into a central computer or at least daily. Tags numbers linked to ownership and linked to what is in the state currently and what can be hauled out.

    If you don't have a fast acting central database housing all of this data and capable of processing it quickly, the system is worthless. And yes it is possible to build it, but remember, a state/federal agency is going to be putting it together and therefore the track record has shown it will not be efficient or friendly to users. Sorry that is from someone that works with them regularly.

    If you don't, someone could easily super glue 400 chips to a bee netting, drive in load up hive and drive out with the hives covered by the netting, and bingo you pass. Unload move to next major route through the border and steal another load.

    Even if they track them in and out, a contract hauler could be paid legally to haul out stolen hives to just across the line and then those boxes emptied and left in the desert.

    The idea would not stop it, just deter it and make thieves think more. Have seen new heavy equipment with factory tracking devices stolen and those items disabled before the equipment could be located. And most major equipment builders have serial numbers on everything, so if that machine ever appears at a dealership for work, it will appear as stolen on their computers the instant they scan or run a code. Yet this stuff is stolen left and right.
    Started 9/13, building slowly, now @ 7 Lang hives + 5 nucs, and treatment style not decided yet

  18. #18
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    Default Re: RFID tags for theft deterrence

    I think on a personal business level electronic scanning isn't a bad idea if somebody wants to invest the money.

    On a mandated level I think it would be costly and a nightmare and mandating in order to curb theft is just ludicrous.

    It would be like CTs new Gun bans where owners could register what they currently owned at the time the law passed. If caught with an unregistered gun you are a felon. They put a deadline for registration of Jan 1 2014 and estimated that there were 150 k such guns in the state. Jan 1st rolled around and only about 1% of their estimate was registered... They dedicated absolutely no funds to enforcement. Now they are stuck because they created over 100 K felons and they don't know what to do about it.
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: RFID tags for theft deterrence

    I am not advocating the gvt have rfid scanners at every port of call. If the theft rate increased dramatically then that might be in order but not at this point.

    Regarding the thought that: "someone could easily super glue 400 chips to a bee netting, drive in load up hive and drive out with the hives covered by the netting, and bingo you pass. Unload move to next major route through the border and steal another load." I think you fail to have the concept of how they work.

    Just because you add another layer of chips does not preclude the layer below from activating and sending out its "ID" also. One would have to disable ( destroy) the functionality of every chip on the load and then reapply new ones. That is not as easy as it seems. Possible yes but it would be my goal to have the discounters look towards an easier target with less implied risk associated or get the probability of getting caught so high that very few would try.

    If we could get to the point where the reacquisition rate of stolen equipment was only 10% of the rate at which the secret service snags fence jumpers at the white house in DC then the nuts thinking about trying and actually doing hive theft would be very few!!!!

  20. #20
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    Default Re: RFID tags for theft deterrence

    Quote Originally Posted by Honey-4-All View Post
    I am not advocating the gvt have rfid scanners at every port of call. If the theft rate increased dramatically then that might be in order but not at this point.

    Regarding the thought that: "someone could easily super glue 400 chips to a bee netting, drive in load up hive and drive out with the hives covered by the netting, and bingo you pass. Unload move to next major route through the border and steal another load." I think you fail to have the concept of how they work.

    Just because you add another layer of chips does not preclude the layer below from activating and sending out its "ID" also.
    Right; but then you have a mess of data to sort through and need to figure out which data is fake and which is the real deal. A quick search of how to deactivate RFID tags results in over 11000 hits and at the top of the list... Step by step instructions: http://www.instructables.com/id/How-...ll-RFID-chips/

    A thief could simply modify one of the products that a retail store uses to deactivate their security chips and maybe even bobcat mount it so when they pull up under a pallet it toasts every chip on that pallet. They would not even need to know where the chip is embedded.
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

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