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Currently I have less than 10 hives however I have plans to expand to 25 this year, 100 next year with 500 in 5 years. With this plan I have many questions.

How do you mark your hives for identification? Paint, Branding, ???

Thanks
 

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I brand all boxes with a propane branding iron, and also had "outdoor decals" printed with my company name and Florida registration number (1/2 inch lettering). Each hive gets 1 decal on the brood chamber (bottom box) and as stated EVERY box gets branded.
 

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never seen real cheap branding irons but I can say they last a really long time...mine has been passed up through the family beeks from my grandfather.
 

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we made our brand -- im a welder so it was simple but if you are not a metal worker - should be someone near your house that can - just let them know what you need -

the cost of propane branders are way out of my free money stash -
i dont know why they cost that much but they have the market

we brand our logo and then just paint the Reg number - but i want to brand it in later -

we brand our frames tops bottems - everything -- you paid for it might want to spend 2 sec to brand it

-- here is a tip..... Brand as you build or buy -- otherwise you will hate branding after 3 hrs of it -

oh and branding plastic frames it is best done outside hahaha but you all knew that

also most important and you can not forget to do this step
TAKE PICTURES OF YOUR BRAND- A FEW OF EACH AND PRINT THEM OUT - PUT THEM IN AN ENVELEOP AND SEND IT TO YOURSELF -- DONT EVER OPEN IT UNTIL YOU HAVE SOMETHING MISSING AND YOU HAVE A SHERIFF WITNESS THE OPENING OF IT

the reason i say to not open it is that the stamp gets a printed date and that shows that your brand was made prior to the theif

also it helps to post a picture on a website that stores pics- like myspace or facebook or even on here - just so that you have a date of making

again you paid for it take the time to do it right the first time

hope this long post helps you out
 

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I stencil the outside of the box and that's it. I don't brand. My boxes have brands from every beek around as do many of the frames. These things are sold/traded/mixed up/split/etc. so I never saw the point. The only reason it could help is if you get a bunch of hives stolen and you find them....and then it's not a sure thing to prove they were stolen. Here we don't have that problem...somewhere else it may be a good idea so check your area.

Oh the stencils cost about $2.50 and a buck for a can of black spray paint.
 

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if a thief wants them he will take them no matter how you mark or brand them. I have in the past branded my hives just to find out they just dumped the bee into there boxes and discard mine along the roads. branding frames not practal.
Don
one cure is carry a [boom-boom]
 

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True, they can dump the frames and bees into their own boxes, but then they have to find a place to steal empty boxes too. Most thieves aren't smart enough to switch boxes. They've been educated for many years that the system is on the thief's side. If you don't have your brand on them how will you convince a deputy or a judge that the hives belong to you?
 

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never seen real cheap branding irons but I can say they last a really long time...mine has been passed up through the family beeks from my grandfather.
I made my own branding iron out of bar stock I picked up at Home Depot. With a hack saw and a torch I cut and then bent all the letters and then took all the pieces to a friend that had a welder. Works pretty well. I use a propane torch or my turkey fryer burner to heat it up.

I also use the turkey fryer to boil my old cruddy frames. This cleans off wax and propolis really fast (compared to just scraping). When I get home I'll post some pics of the branding iron.
 

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I'm not nearly as elaborate... I just used a black magic maker and letters about 1" inch tall so they're clearly visible. I figured that any thief would either sand, strip off or paint over my markings anyways. It's the stupid thieves that I want to thwart. The clever ones are too expensive to try and combat.
 

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Joe Traynor provided his beeks with Avid microchips which only needs a 1/8 in dia hole in your box. Insert it and rub wax over the hole. The thief never knows which box or frame the chip is in or if there is one there. This is the same chip they inject into pets for positive ID. It is encoded in AVID data base as your ID. One demo I saw, the reader was 20 ft from the chip and it picked it up. The chips at that time were less than a dollar. Good insurance. They put AVID chips on farm equip. now.
 

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Maybe you could take the chips out of the rfid cattle tags. They would be registered in your name with the government.
Or you could tag all your bees with them (where exactly is the bees ear?):p
 

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I run between 50 and 60 hives and use the numbered calf ear tags. You can change the number from one to another with a cordless screwdriver and a screw if you need to. I do this for record keeping only, the only way to stop a thief is to catch him in the act.:shhhh: Jack
 

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Being broke and cheap, I also made my first branding iron by hand. I heated it with my acetylene torch. It burned up after about 1000 brandings and then I bought a factory made one . The factory one just used a small propane bottle, not the hose and tank set up. I probably have the torch part laying around my shop.
 

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I spent the money for a good propane iron. It's worth it if you have very many to do. I was branding more than five hundred boxes and about three hundred lids and bottoms and about 5000 frames.

My thinking is it may not help me find them (although it might) but it ends any arguments about whose they are. If you have bees on other peoples property (and most of us do) and the owner dies, the kids may claim they are "dad's" hives and you need some evidence they are not.

Hopefully the brand is large enough for people to recognize from the road.

http://bushfarms.com/images/DippingBoxes6.jpg
http://bushfarms.com/images/Clip.jpg
 

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All good advise if your name is Rohe, or Bush, but what about we Oppenheimers? :s.
 
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