Category Archives: beekeeping

Bees and Infrared Cameras

During the winter when outside temperatures drop below zero, an Infrared Camera can be very useful to see which colonies are still alive

The photos were taken using a borrowed FLIR E4 Camera https://www.flir.co.uk/products/e4/

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Below is an IR image of 3 beehives. The two to the left are two Paynes polystyrene hives, and the one on the right is a wooden hive. You can see the difference in surface temperature and hence heat loss.

These are the same beehives but from the front. Note that there is a relatively high temperature in the entrance of each polystyrene hive

A closer look at a polystyrene hive showing heat leakage from the gap between the brood box and the super, then a larger gap to the roof.

Paynes Polystyrene Hives

https://paynesbeefarm.co.uk/collections/poly-hives-nucs/products/complete-poly-14×12-jumbo-national-hive-empty-no-frames

Of course there are some downsides with Polystyrene Hives

  • cleaning – you cannot scorch with a blowtorch, use a large bleach bath instead
  • woodpeckers make deep, ineffective holes
  • the super will not fit onto the base in the same way that the brood box does. I cannot work how to invert brood/super in the spring

Here is a picture of the apiary in the daytime for reference

Woodpecker holes

Beeswax processing

As a beekeeper, you end up with a lot of brood frames which need replacing, wax scrapings and mappings from when processing honey. Melting these down by heating up with water will not remove the impurities such as propolis, dead bees and other waste. An easy way to both remove the wax and as a first stage filter would be to heat the frames or whatever in a black box sealed under glass.

This was an unused double glazed roof light, the back sealed with a piece of wood and the inside lined with aluminium painted black. The box was tilted to point at the sun, and the bottom edge was lined with aluminium foil to collect the wax.

Further processing

The wax/tin foil mix was was then heated with water to melt it into a more convenient shape and filter it some more. One trick is to put the dirty wax into an old pair of tights and heat up, the was will liquify and escape to float on the surface and the debris will remain behind. This is great, but some debris float to contaminate the wax. Using the same principle of a cafetière, I make this press to keep the debris on the botton whilst the wax cools. The filter was cnc cut out of aluminium plate

To make this ( yes, our floor was dirty )