beekeeping equipment

Don’t miss these photos!

Do you ever wonder where your winter colony is? Or how big? Yesterday, Kevin O’Donnell of Arlington Heights, Illinois sent us some awesome photos that answer those exact questions.

Kevin is a specialist in insulated packaging systems, especially those that pertain to drug products. As a result, he has a fascination with thermal regulation inside his beehives.

Recently, Kevin discovered a thermal imaging camera that attaches to an iPhone 5. With it, he photographed his three hives and was amazed to discover all wasn’t as he expected. He writes:

As you can see in the first photo, the hive on the left is doing well, the middle colony appears to be failing, and the one on the right is dead. I find this curious as the strongest hive going into winter six weeks earlier was, by far and away, the hive on the right. The weakest? The one on the left.

That’s a lot of important information from one photo! I do things the hard way, by pulling out the Varroa trays to see where the debris is. But the photo tells you not only the size and location, but the vertical placement and current colony strength.

Kevin continues with even more fascinating information:

The second photo shows a small feral colony (where I am pointing) living inside a hollow column on my cousin’s front porch in Peoria, IL. If it is still there in spring, I am going back to retrieve it!

Is that cool or what? If any of you are interested, the camera can be found at: FLIR ONE Thermal Imager for iPhone 5/5s

Also, the Seek Thermal has versions for both Android and iOS: Seek UW-AAA Thermal Imaging Camera USB Connector for iOS Devices, Black

Thank you, Kevin, for sending the photos. Great work!


Thermal image 1 Odonnell

The colony on the left is strong, the middle is weak, and the right is dead. © Kevin O’Donnell.

Thermal image 2 Odonnell

A feral colony living inside a hollow column. © Kevin O’Donnell.

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