DECEMBER 09, 2016: I don’t anticipate I’ll post much for the next month, so here’s a little something to fill in the time: a video playlist from my Mud Songs YouTube channel called Neat Things In Beekeeping. You can press play and let ‘er rip and watch all the videos play one after the other. Go nuts!
I will update this post continually (instead of writing multiple posts that could easily take over this blog) as I explore the capabilities of the Flir One infrared camera device. The updates will appear in descending order. The latest update was posted on December 19th, 2016.
DECEMBER 19, 2016: I know people who are getting much better results with their Flir One than I am. I realize my long rambling post here probably isn’t providing the best information because I’ve more or less taken the point-and-shoot approach. I want to turn this thing on, take a thermal image and immediately see something that’s useful — without having to modify the image later on using another application or program, because I don’t have time for anything else. Easily 95% of the images I get following that approach don’t show me anything that helps me. For people like me who may have day jobs, family responsibilities or other activities that don’t allow them much time to fiddle with something like this, I’m not sure I can recommend the Flir One. It’s too expensive and time-consuming. I’m not saying it doesn’t work, but in my experience so far, it’s definitely not something that produces great results just by plugging it in. It takes time and perhaps some knowledge of thermal imaging to get the most out of it.
DECEMBER 07, 2016: I took the following thermal images with my Flir One today. The automatic settings didn’t give me much to work with, so, again, I tried to adjust the settings on the fly and got various results. Using the Flir Tools app or the software on my computer would probably produce better images, but I don’t have time for that. If I can’t get a half-decent image by using the Flir One as I would my cell phone camera, then it could easily become yet another beekeeping chore that takes up more of my time. I’d rather instant results, not something that requires additional processing afterwards. So I’m aiming for simplicity at the moment even if it means I’m not utilizing the Flir One to its full potential. So… It was about -10°C when I took these pics, and no wind. It felt icy cold. Everything was frozen.
The wrap on this hive is loose on the bottom left. I can’t get a useful thermal reading off it. (Dec. 07, 2016, 10:16am, -10°C.)
I was looking over some of the posts that I’ve made during the month of December as a reminder to myself of what to expect for the next month. I came across a post from last December where I describe noticing dead bees on the bottom boards of some of my hives.
Scraping out a fairly large clump of dead bees around this time last year. (Dec. 12, 2015.)
Then I went outside today in the rain to take a quick look at my beehives and could hardly see any dead bees on the bottom boards. So… what’s up with that? November 2016, this year, was much warmer than last November. Does that have anything to do with it?
The bees in most of my hives at this time last year, when it was colder, were clustered well below the top bars and there were a fair number of dead bees on the bottom boards.
This year, with warmer temperatures, the bees in most of the hives are clustered close to or above the top bars, not down below where they usually go, and there are hardly any dead bees on the bottom boards.
Perhaps the warmer weather has the bees staying near the top of the hive and eating more honey, staying warmer and not dying off as quickly in the cold. Perhaps just as many bees are dying off this year, but because they’re up top, they’re getting clogged between the frames in the bottom deeps.
I don’t know. But I’m noting it now for my records… and I’ll gladly entertain any theories. I wouldn’t be surprised if I’m overlooking something obvious.