May 29th, 2011

I inspected both of our hives today, but didn’t have my regular cracker jack film crew along. No video. No photos. But you can pretend I saw something similar to this:


Read on . . . »

May 26th, 2011

I added some more pics to the Bees & Pollen photo album. Here’s one of them:

May 26th, 2011

Here’s a quick video of the drone comb I pulled from Hive #2 yesterday with some commentary about the architecture of the comb. I point out the drone eggs, too, which should show up well in full screen HD mode.


SELECT 720p FOR HIGH DEFINITION AND OPTIMAL FULL SCREEN VIDEO PLAYBACK.

I call this post “Architecture of Honey Comb” even though it’s drone comb because, as far as I know, there’s no difference between the two. Both drone comb and honey comb have large cells, and drone comb is supposedly backfilled with honey once the drones emerge, anyway, so they’re virtually the same.

May 25th, 2011

I took a 3-minute video clip of honey bees coming and going from a hive entrance and stretched it out to 12 minutes. (I couldn’t stretch it out any further.) I replaced the slow motion soundtrack with the original normal speed soundtrack. (Then I looped it.) Then I tried to render the video file in a manner that would minimize the ghostly blur effect of the bees flying. (I still need to work on that.) The final 550mb WMV file was encoded at 720p HD and took several hours to upload to YouTube. I haven’t watched the video yet (because it’s 12 minutes long), but at 720p in full screen mode, it probably doesn’t look too bad.


SELECT 720p FOR HIGH DEFINITION AND OPTIMAL FULL SCREEN VIDEO PLAYBACK.

P.S., The original video was 14 minutes long, but I made the last 20 seconds or so normal speed and then forgot to change the 14 in the title to a 12.

May 25th, 2011

I decided to pull this natural drone comb today because the frame doesn’t have any support wire, which would have made the comb a prime candidate for snapping off the frame someday.

Jenny noticed a feature of the comb that had us in awe of the bees again. But I’ll tell you about it later.

P.S. (later): See Architecture of Honey Comb to view an illustrative video.

May 24th, 2011

THE FOLLOWING HAS BEEN UPDATED SINCE ORIGINALLY POSTED.

We’ve put out water for the honey bees living in our backyard, but they seem to prefer dirty water from puddles around the yard. They specifically seem to favour the moist dark compost soil in our raised garden beds.


Some browsers seem to flatten the video during playback and I don’t know why and I don’t have the patience to fix it. View it on the YouTube page for accurate playback.

Does the soil give off some sort of fake pheromone that attracts the bees? I didn’t know, so I looked up “water” in my excellent 1947 edition of The ABC and XYZ of Bee Culture (the only edition of the book I could afford) and I learned that the bees bring in more water in the spring during brood-rearing and less water as the honey flow peaks. But more to the point, the bees drink from compost piles (and composted soil) because the water there is warmer than water left in a dish. The bees are able to absorb warm water faster than cold water. So it’s not the stink of the compost that attracts them. It’s the warmth.

I think it’s fair to conclude, from this instance and everything else I’ve observed, that whatever honey bees do, they do it with the utmost efficiency.
Read on . . . »

May 23rd, 2011

There’s not much to see here but I’ll show it to you anyway. It’s a raw video of me walking through the field behind our shed looking for honey bees on dandelions. The field fills with a variety of wild flowers during the summer and fall. I might explore it again later on in the season when there’s more to see. (Note: The video contains some brief G-rated profanity.)


SELECT 720p FOR HIGH DEFINITION AND OPTIMAL FULL SCREEN VIDEO PLAYBACK.

The video demonstrates how difficult it is to get a precise focus on the bee. Looking at an LCD screen in the bright is not ideal. I might manually lock the focus next time and attach a stick to the camera so I can physically see where focused area ends. Anyway, it’s been cold for the past week and the bees have been stuck in their hives. Sunnier skies and warmer temperatures are supposedly on the way. I hope so. We only have four months of the year that aren’t cold, wet and windy (that is, they’re not as cold, wet and windy as the other eight months). I’m ready to make the most of it. I think the bees are too. Come on summer, let’s get on with it!

May 23rd, 2011

May 19th, 2011

THE FOLLOWING HAS BEEN UPDATED SINCE ORIGINALLY POSTED.

I discovered a possible swarm cell in Hive #2 about ten minutes ago.


Read on . . . »

May 18th, 2011

I think I’ve worked out my high-definition video problems. Until now most of the videos available through the Mud Songs YouTube channel were in standard definition, which is fine and dandy for most of us. But sometimes it is kind of cool to watch a video in full screen mode and not have the picture turn into a bunch of over-sized fuzzy pixels. The pieces of pollen and the tiny hairs on the bees show up much better in HD, even if you don’t have an HD monitor. So for now on if I think the video is worth watching in HD, I’ll upload it in HD. Low bandwidth users can always play it back in standard definition, but the HD option will be there for anyone who wants it. So let’s compare, shall we?

Here’s my most recent video in standard definition (360p). Watch it in full screen mode and see how that works for you. (No need to watch all of it.)

Now here’s the same video in 720p high definition. Again, watch it in full screen mode and see if you can tell the difference — but make sure to select the 720p play back option instead of the default 320p.
Read on . . . »

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