Not once this week but twice, beekeepers have sent me thermal images of their overwintering colonies. Of course both beekeepers were both men—not once has a woman ever sent me a thermal image. I’m not sure why, but I think it’s because men have more cents than sense!
These folks remind me of soon-to-be new fathers who parade around the office with the latest ultrasound of their offspring. “Look! Can you believe how gorgeous!” When I stare at the ghostly black-and-white image of an unborn babe curled up like a three-day-old larva, “gorgeous” is not the word that comes to mind. Interesting for sure, amazing even, but not so much gorgeous.
But regardless of all that, these thermal images make me insanely jealous. I just love thermal images of anything, but especially bee hives. And these pictures are awesome. They can tell you everything you need to know about your hive, and much more than you can learn by popping the lid and having a look.
It appears that both beekeepers are using Flir Thermal Imagers, which come in models for both iOS and Android.
So, in the order they were received, I present overwintering bee hives from opposite coasts:
The first group was taken by Victor Berthelsdorf in McMinniville, Oregon. The photos were originally posted to his website, bnatural-muddyvalley. Having just had a serious look at this site, I see it has even more thermal images as well as some awesome native bee shots. I’m very impressed: not only are the native bees in focus, they are identified as well—two things that are difficult to do.
The colonies in the photos below look healthy and vibrant—time to get those honey supers ready!
The large composite photos below were sent to me by Anthony Planakis (Tonybees) in New York City. His thermal images show cozy hives in very cold temperatures. He writes, “It’s been brutally cold here with winds and wind chill reaching -20 F, as you can see in the following photo of my hives earlier today. These temps (internal) are as a result of using the moisture quilt and the Bee Cozy wraps along with the felt paper. Fingers crossed!!!”
And here are some shots of the hives prior to wrapping, with outdoor temperatures shown on the upper left-hand side.
I’m intrigued by all this information. Now I want someone to take a picture of a bottom board (or Varroa drawer) to see if anything is alive down there and crawling around in the debris. Is the Flir sensitive enough to do that?
Special thanks to Victor Berthelsdorf and Tony Planakis.
Honey Bee Suite
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