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

We’ve purchased a narrowboat

Monday, 1st March 2021. Lockdown. I paid for Elysium last Friday and have been told that she is ours.

Elysium is her current name, but neither of us really like it, so we are trying to decide on a new name. This may take us a while.

We organised a full survey and a river trial. Essentially she is sound with a good 10mm base plate, 6mm hull and 3mm cabin. The engine is a Lombardini LDW903 20hp 3 cylinder diesel, and it not considered a great engine.

She has a rather odd layout inside. A nice shower with a grim loo leading into a kitchen, bed and a lounge. This will change. I like the idea of a bed at the bow.

The gas hob and oven will be removed. I don’t trust myself with gas on a boat, if there is a leak the gas will make its way to the bilge. We will have a meths cooker and a microwave. Not sure what to use the gas lockers for.

The plan is to get her ready to move in April/May from near to Heathrow back to the Fens and to a marina near to Newmarket. Its going to be an interesting summer.

Elysium is being craned out of the water on the 3rd of March to be cleaned and the hull blacked, then an engine service and cam belt change. The engine bay is in a poor state and needs a good clean. Craned back into the water at the end of March.

So, the plans for this year are :

  • Disconnect Gas
  • Install Spirit cooker
  • Remove Oven
  • Move and rewire fridge
  • New toilet
  • Remove sofa
  • Remove mattress
  • Make table/seating
  • Make ottoman bed
  • remove front cover/cratch
  • Move hot water cylinder
  • Move batteries
  • 48v from Engine
  • reconfigure batteries to 48v
  • Install Inverter/charger

..oh and to install some radios

So what is rheumatoid Arthritis Like ?

I was diagnosed in early 2020 with Rheumatoid Arthritis, specifically psoriatic arthritis. At the time, I was not convinced of the diagnosis but the symptoms have been getting a lot worse now in early 2021 so I am convinced.

Symptoms :

  • ‘Bone pain’ – a deep ache seemingly from deep inside my limbs. Shoulders, arms, hands, legs and feet. Level varying from 1 – 5 out of 10. Especially bad in the mornings and evenings. Finding a comfortable position to sleep involves lots of wriggling to finally find that position with no pain. Its great for a few minutes and then it starts again. It takes me ages to sleep.
  • Specific pain – it began at the rear of my heels, I could not lay on my back because of heel pain, but now it has moved to fingers and toes. Level up to 7 / 10
  • Fatigue, exhaustion. All I could do was to lay down, too exhausted to read, watch Netflix, listen to the radio. Too tired to sleep.
  • Brain-fog – inability to think straight, to get the right words out. Clumsy. Easily upset. Depression, hiding.

So far I’ve tried hydroxychloroquine which seemed to enhance the symptoms, methotrexate tablets which made me rather sick and now methotrexate injections that wipe me out for 2 days and another 2 to recover. However, after 3 days of just starting steroids a lot of the aches have gone – steroids are not a long term solution.

How will I know that the medication is working ? I’m currently having biweekly blood tests showing two inflammatory markers and liver function indications. Hopefully the inflammatory markers will lower before the liver damage becomes significant. Its all a bit of a balance.

And the prognosis ? Well I hope to find a medication that will successfully blunt my immune system so that it stops attacking my joints and I can get back to some sort of normal life. There are a number of RA medications to try yet, all I need to do is to find one that works.