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Is there a specific brand of Game Cam that you folks here recommend that won't set me back $200, but will still be reliable and long lasting (e.g., I won't have to change the card every month - something I can just leave there, and access if I suspect a problem)?
Unfortunately I don't have anything specific to recommend particularly, but all my cameras are various models by a company called "Stealth cam". I've typically found them each for <$50, they take about 9 AA batteries, as big of a camera card as you can afford, and lasts for at least a month of "normal" activity. A hyper squirrel can fill you card with junk and kill your batteries in a week though. But I am also cheap, these are just "dumb cameras". If you want the fancy cameras that upload all their pictures to the cloud instantly, those are probably more than than I am willing to pay (including monthly fees for SIM card data packages?).
 

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I haven't had much luck with game cameras being reliable for very long, so I would also welcome recommendations for some good ones out there.
I'd be willing to shell out a decent amount, however I think it would have to work without internet service. The one that someone mentioned that used a prepaid cell service would possibly be an option depending on the cost....
 

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One other thing I thought of is, if you know that it would take a vehicle to enter your property or wherever your hives are, would it be feasible to put some sort of "spike strip" (board with long nails, etc.) in the road or path that you know where it is and to remove when you go out there? Most people carry one spare, but how nice would it be to have a bunch of thugs in a flatbed with 4 flats and only 1 spare?
Couple that idea with some game cameras and maybe even one of the fancy game cameras that lets you know they're out there.
Call the police and go back to bed.
 

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There are plenty of good ways to protect a single yard of bees but given that most thefts happen in Cal to larger commercial operations you have to see the full picture. Over a million and a half hives are scattered in very small groupings over thousands and thousands of miles of little used farm trails that connect to lightly maintained secondary roads. Bees on trucks at all hours of the day and night are common sights. Trying to differentiate the criminals from the owners is virtually impossible. Last year I invested in some tracking devices but you’re spending in the neighborhood of $100 each and the chances of that particular pallet getting stolen is pretty slim. Btw, I had 20 hives stolen myself last year. Nice easy nights work for some crook who no doubt had them home and switched into his own boxes by sunrise.
 

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Talk to an attorney about leaving "bobby traps". you might get in trouble doing that.

Crazy Roland
 

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The first pallet of the row should fall apart, when you lift it. (Or for the smaller beekeeper: the hive bottom) Bees will take care of the thieves. :)
 
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