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Beehives and their components are investments that cost beekeepers considerable amounts of money. Many beekeepers have had cases of theft of their beehives and have resorted to making some markings on their beehives and other methods of deterring and tracking thieves. The technology minded beekeepers may go for RFID and NFC tags embedded within beehives and beehive parts. More visible marking involves the use of paint, embedded name and plate tags, and branding. Hot branding leaves a permanent mark on the beehive and parts you choose. It is not easy to remove and requires too much work to obscure; work that beehive thieves are not very willing to do. In this article, we take you through the best beehive branding irons you can use to mark your beehives.
Reasons for Branding Beehives
There are many reasons for branding beehives, but chief among them is to improve the traceability of stolen beehives and their parts. A big visible brand on a beehive also acts as a deterrent to possible thieves. Branding a beehive gives a thief work to do once they have stolen the beehive. They have to paint it over or scratch it out. The best beehive branding irons leave a very permanent mark on the wood of the beehive that is difficult to remove. Eventually, the thief has to throw away the stolen beehive or part that is branded or risk being caught. Of course, you would have to be able to physically access the beehive to inspect it for your brand mark.
Beekeepers also brand their beehives for identity purposes. The beehive can be branded as part of the brand identity within the broader marketing strategy of beehive products. A nicely styled and done brand on a beehive is beautiful to look at. It contributes to improve the aesthetics of the apiary and the general appearance of the beehives.
Two or more beekeepers may have their beehives in one apiary. To identify the beehives that belong to respective beekeepers, branding can be done to the beehives. The brands differ and each beekeeper knows their brand. This also applies to beehives in an apiary that is set up as a community project. The branding helps members of the community and stakeholders in the beekeeping project to know their beehives. It also creates a feeling of ownership among the members of the project.
Best Beehive Branding Irons
5. One Letter Custom Wood Branding Iron
This one letter custom wood branding iron is great for use with symbols and logos. It has a small metallic branding die at the end of its handle. This beehive branding iron is made using steel and manufactured in Texas, USA. The branding iron has a handle measuring approximately 11 inches long, allowing for the branding die to be very hot while the part that you grip remains cool. The handle is also insulated, so that the risk of burning your hands is reduced. The brand letter, number, symbol or logo supplied on this beehive branding iron measures 2 inches tall and 3.5 inches wide. This is a great size for the maximum visibility of the brand on beehives.
This beehive branding iron is smallish in size. It does not allow for much in the way of stylish marking using the initials of your name. It is however great for use with single symbols and logos. You can also use a single letter to brand your beehive, but that would not be very effective as a theft deterrent. It also makes it difficult to use the brand in tracing stolen beehives and beehive items. This leaves this branding iron to be more suited to branding for aesthetic purposes.
You can get the branding die and the letters on it to be stylized to your preferences. You get the options of diagonal, heart, horizontal, angled letters, tilted, straight vertical, straight and symbols layouts. The specified layout is made on the metallic branding die. The various layouts are great for use on wood and various other materials. Being usable on many materials and the various layout options, this beehive branding iron makes a great gift item to buy for a beekeeper you know.
- The small size of this beehive branding iron allows it to be used on frames and other narrow surfaces on some beehive parts.
- This beehive branding iron heats up quickly and retains heat well, to allow you to brand several items at a time before it needs reheating.
- The beehive branding iron is heated using an external source of heat. This requires you to reheat it repeatedly during the course of the branding exercise.
- You can use only one letter or number with this branding iron. This limits you when you want to brand the initials of your name onto a beehive. It is also not easy to use with replaceable branding dies, so you are stuck with that one symbol, letter, number or logo.
4. Two Letter Combo Custom Wood Branding Iron
With increases in theft, this is tool is useful for the branding of beehives and their parts. It is made with a western-style lettering reminiscent of the American Wild West era. It leaves a long lasting impression in the wood of beehives and their parts. The lettering style is also beautiful and very suited for beekeepers with a taste for the rustic. This branding iron is sold new with no prior use. You are sure that the item you get is in good working order and will last for long.
The branding iron comes in a metallic color that is very aesthetically pleasing. It is made using high quality steel metal so that it conducts heat well. It is also long lasting since the steel metal does not rust.
This beehive branding iron is made in Texas, USA and is easily customized to suit the preferences of individual beekeepers. Excellent craftsmanship is seen on the branding iron. What’s more, you can have any two letters of the alphabet with this branding iron. In your order, you specify the letters you want. You also have the options of many different layouts such as tilted, diagonal, straight, heart, horizontal angled letters and straight vertical. If you prefer, you can have symbols made on the branding iron, so you brand your beehives using a symbol instead of letters. The numbers 0 to 9 can also be used if you so choose.
This beehive branding iron comes with a handle that is 10 inches long. It gives excellent control of the branding iron due to its short length. This length is also enough to allow heat to dissipate from the metal as you move towards the handle. The handle remains cool and comfortable to even when the tip of the branding iron is searing hot. A brand measuring 2 inches tall and 3 ½ inches wide is made when using this branding iron. Lettering with this beehive branding iron is approximately 3/16 inches thick.
- This branding iron is made using steel metal. It does not rust and conducts heat well.
- Beekeepers buying this beehive branding iron have the options of getting custom letters, numbers and symbols.
- The branding iron is easy to work with. It heats up well and retains the heat for long. Its handle is well made to prevent burning the user.
- Only two letters or numbers can go onto the branding iron.
- You cannot use replaceable letters, numbers or symbols with this beehive branding iron.
- This branding iron has to be heated with an external source of heat.
3. Custom Two Letter Western Wood Branding Iron
This is a wood branding iron that is great for use on beehives. It is made to hold 2 letters on the metal branding die. It has a handle and the metal die at one end. The die is heated using any heating source such as a fire, and then placed on the wood surface. The hot die sears the letters on the branding die onto the wood surface. This branding iron can also be used on plastic beehive parts that need to be branded. It is made using high quality steel and excellent craftsmanship in Texas, USA. This gives you assurance that the beehive branding iron is of high quality and made using .
The length of the metallic handle on this branding iron is 10 inches, which allows for excellent grip and control. The heated part of the branding iron does not conduct to the the handle, as the heat dissipates before it could do so. The handle is also insulated to give you extra comfort from heat when working with this beehive branding iron.
The letters and numbers found on this beehive branding iron are in the Wild western style. They are stylish and stand out on your beehives.
- This beehive branding iron is great for use on the wide surfaces of beehive boxes and most beehive parts. It gives a great burnt-wood impression on the wood that can be read from far. This is a great theft deterrent when used to mark beehives.
- The beehive branding iron is well made using high quality materials. It heats up fast and keeps the heat for long. You can go through a large number of items before you need to heat the branding die again.
- Heating this branding iron is done using a separate source of heat such as a fire. Improper management of the heating process can cause other nearby items to catch fire. This would result in losses to the beekeeper and their beekeeping operation.
- You cannot use custom replaceable branding dies with this beehive branding iron.
- You have to work with forced breaks from the branding activity to heat the branding die once it has cooled from branding several surfaces.
2. Branding Iron for Beehives – Text and Logo on Brass
This is a beehive branding iron made in the style of a blowtorch and branding die. The branding die is set some distance from the flame of the blowtorch. With this setup, the blowtorch is lit and heats the branding die to the required temperature. The setup allows for continuous working, because you do not need reheating stops. This branding iron is great for use on beehives and other parts such as the bottom board, inner cover and top cover. It can also be used on beehive frames and gives excellent results.
The branding die is made of brass metal, which is a great conductor of heat and does not cool easily. The die plate measures 55 millimeters wide and is 20 millimeters in height. Its dimensions are great for use on the wide surfaces of beehive boxes and components. It is precisely machined using a CNC router to give a very fine cut from the block of solid brass used. The impression left after branding is big enough to be seen from far off, yet not too big to be an eyesore on the side of your beehives.
- This beehive branding iron can be used with a wide variety of symbols, numbers, letters, logos and graphics. It can also be customized to give you bigger or smaller die plates when purchasing the branding iron.
- High quality materials are used to make this beehive branding iron. It works very well and lasts for long. Precision cutting of the die plate gives you very nice brands on your beehive boxes and beehive parts when you use this beehive branding iron.
- The gas cylinder and blowtorch are not included on purchase.
- The attachment for the blowtorch on this beehive branding iron is not made to allow many standard sizes of gas canisters. The branding iron is made in Serbia. It is unclear if any international standards in size are followed.
1. Branding Iron for Beehives with Blow Torch – Text and Logo on Brass
This is a branding iron with a blow torch attached to it. It leaves a brand measuring 6 x 6 centimeters on your beehive. The manufacturer promises to also be able to customize your branding iron to any alternative size you want. This makes this branding iron suitable for use on the sides of beehive boxes and other large components. It works with lettering or a logo cast in metal at one end of the branding iron. The branding iron is precision made using a CNC machine, out of a block of solid brass. Fine cutting gives very accurate results in logos, lettering, symbols and numbers used on this beehive branding iron. The branding iron can also work with any graphics you want to use on your beehives.
The blowtorch which comes attached heats up the metallic die of the branding iron. It comes with a standard gas canister. You can remove it and attach larger gas canister when you have many beehives or parts to brand at a time. Using a blowtorch for heating also allows continuous working once it is hot enough. The amount of gas allowed out of the canister can be regulated so that you have a flame just big and hot enough to maintain the high temperature of the branding die.
The design and assembly of this beehive branding iron, is such that the handle is furthest from the heated branding die. Heat from the flame of the blowtorch is also directed away from the handle. This design makes it very safe to work with, as it has little risk of burning your hand. A small flame and metal enclosure on two sides of the flame from the blowtorch also reduce the risk of unintended items catching fire from the blowtorch.
- This branding iron is continuously heated by a blowtorch. It allows you to work on all ready beehives and their parts. Working without stopping consumes fewer resources and saves time.
- Safety is given a lot of consideration in the design and assembly of this beehive branding iron with blowtorch. Hot parts are away from the hands of the user, and the flame from the blowtorch is directed away from the handle you grip when using this equipment.
- Customization of the size of the branding die allows you to use this branding iron to brand small parts such as beehive frames.
- This beehive branding iron uses gas canisters that have to be replaced when empty. This adds a cost to the beekeeping operation.
- You cannot use replaceable custom branding dies with this branding iron.
Recovering Stolen Beehives
A stolen beehive is a loss of invested capital for the beekeeper. The thief will always try to obscure any markings on the beehive and remove trackers such as chips if they can find them. Recovering stolen beehives and their parts requires the beekeeper to physically access the stolen beehive, so they can check it for their markings that prove ownership. This is not easy but can be achieved through a combination of methods. The police have to be involved in every step of the process so that everything is done lawfully.
Involve the Police
Notifying the police, fellow beekeepers and agricultural authorities of the theft of your beehives is an important first step towards recovery. If you have trackers installed in the beehives, use them to trace the location of the beehives. Go to the beehives with the police so they can make arrests if possible.
Inform Nearby Beekeepers and Re-sellers
Letting fellow beekeepers know that your beehives have been stolen helps you get information that might be useful to the eventual recovery of the beehives. The beekeepers will let you know if anyone is found selling beehives or their parts. Other beekeepers will also be aware that there is a beehive thief in the area. They can then beef up the security measures they use to keep their beehives from being stolen too.
If you can, talk to pawnbrokers and other buyers and sellers of second-hand items in the area. Let them know that you have had beehives stolen and that you are committed to recovering them. They will either not buy the stolen beehives or even let you know that the beehives are in the market. If they do it well, it leads to the arrest of the thief and recovery of the stolen beehives and their parts.
Set a Trap
You can also set up a trap by circulating information that you are buying beehives and their parts. This can be done by the beekeeper themselves or someone else close to them. A friendly beginner beekeeper can circulate the information so that it seems true they need more equipment for their beekeeping operation. The thief is tempted to sell the items if they hear of the opportunity so that they get the stolen beehives and parts off their hands. If you are lucky, you will get the thief trying to sell your stolen beehives and have them arrested.
Securing Your Beehives
By making it difficult to sell off stolen beehives, you render them useless to the thief. You should also employ more than one measure to secure beehives. Strapping them down, using embedded electronic chips, fencing and using various types of security cameras are recommended. Beekeepers can also use screws and bolts of sizes that are not common to prevent theft of their beehives. Use a combination of these beehive security measures to prevent the theft of beehives and to make recovery of easier in the event they are stolen.
Ultimately, you should aim to prevent the theft of your beehives. Recovering already stolen beehives and their parts is a tiring exercise. It drains you of resources you had not even planned to use. Additionally, you encounter delays in production. You might successfully recover all the stolen beehives and their parts, only to have them held by the police as evidence while a case drags its way through the courts!
A Final Word
The relatively high cost of buying beehives and their parts makes them valuable. Thieves can easily target beehives as an item to steal. The location of apiaries is often away from traffic and areas frequently visited by people other than the beekeeper and owner of the beehives. These factors make beehive theft an occurrence that many beekeepers have had to deal with. Take measures to prevent the theft of your beehives, and to ease tracking in case the beehives are stolen. Use these best beehive branding irons to keep your beehives looking beautiful, unappealing to steal, and easy to recover in case a thief steals them one day.
Have you ever used any of the beehive branding irons discussed above? Leave a comment below and let us know your thoughts on it.