A beekeepers' representative is advising apiaries to consider microchipping their hives to counter the rising number of thefts.
The secretary of the Northland branch of the Beekeepers' Association, Simon Peacy, says there's anecdotal evidence of an increase in the number of hives stolen by people who want them for crop pollination, or to take the high-value manuka honey.
Mr Peacy says each hive, just in terms of the capital cost, is worth well over $200 and each box of manuka honey in the hive is worth a minimum of $200.
He says identifying the boxes makes sense and there is a microchipping system, similar to that used for dogs, which uses a tiny pellet put into the box under pressure and then painted over.
Mr Peacy says another system is available using paint containing microdots that only show up under ultraviolet light.