An Infrared Guessing Game

Here are some quick snapshots I took this morning of my hives using an infrared camera device attached to my cell phone. It doesn’t provide the most helpful readings at the moment, probably because it’s not cold enough outside to highlight the heat that’s radiating from the insides of the hives. I also used the default settings on the device. More precise calibrations might provide me with better images. But for now, here are my best guesses about what’s happening inside my hives according to these infrared images.

My best guess for this 2-deep hive:  the cluster is favouring the top box and there's a crack between the boxes where heat is escaping. (Oct. 22, 2016.)

My best guess for this 2-deep hive: the cluster is favouring the top box and there’s a crack between the boxes where heat is escaping. (Oct. 22, 2016.)

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A Cat Hanging Around with Honey Bees

Here’s a short video I grabbed today of one of my cats hanging around with me while I was beekeeping. I like to throw a cat video out whenever I can because I receive regular emails from people asking if honey bees will bother their cats and dogs. Speaking from my experience with cats and what I’ve been told from beekeepers with dogs, my answer is always the same: The cat (or dog) will get stung once and learn to keep a respectful distance from the beehives. The particular cat in this video is a genius. He knows how close he can get to the hives (about 10 feet / 3 metres), but he also knows not to move fast when he’s around the bees. He could be tearing around the yard and immediately slow down once he’s near the hives. He’s a natural beekeeper, calm and relaxed around the bees. The video ends with him tiptoeing closer to the hives.

He was rubbing up against my legs about 10 seconds after I stopped recording. Funny cat.

P.S.: The only exceptions I’m aware of are Yorkshire Terriers and Shih Tzus. Little yappy dogs like that are automatic targets for honey bees, and who can blame them?

Cats vs. Honey Bees

I got an email from someone who noticed my cats in a few photos. They asked, “How well do your cats get along with your honey bees?” The short answer is, it’s not a problem.

We have two cats, a young cat and an older cat. The older cat, Nigel, is so completely laid back, it’s absurd. He doesn’t even notice the bees, and so far the bees haven’t taken much notice of him either.

The younger cat, Winston (seen in the photo), will chase after anything that flies. He approached the bees cautiously when he first saw them. Then he got bolder and sat in front of a hive entrance one day and tried to catch a few bees — and got stung in the face. He didn’t make any noise when he got stung, but ran away and tried rubbing the sting off with his paws. A couple minutes later he was back to normal and hasn’t tried to catch a bee since. He will notice bees crawling on the ground once in a while, but even then he’ll just sit there and look. Cats learn fast.

November 25th, 2010: Nigel eventually got stung in the face and freaked out. He didn’t know what to do or where to go. He ran in circles, didn’t watch where he was going and banged into the fence and eventually ran for the back door and I let him in the house. Now whenever he sees a bee, he runs away scared.

Our other cat, Winston, continues to keep a respectful distance from the bees. As seen in this photo, he gets very close to the hives at times, but seems totally at ease around them.

June 6th, 2014: A video of one of our other cats chillin’ with the bees.