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Pictures and video can be very helpful in your apiary.  Cameras provide perimeter security and record any interaction with the hive by local wildlife. Once, I was able to determine that I had deformed wing virus and possibly mite problems by watching the birds that were foraging for crawling bees. I once caught a dog marking a hive with urine, and another time I caught a family of skunks trying to find a safe angle to scratch the hive. I have watched small spiders walk right into the entrance and snag bees and carry them out, as well as other spiders that attempted to weave web traps.  The interaction of the bees with other life forms can be very interesting.

The most important view, is watching the forager bees and observe what they are bringing (or not bringing) into the hive.  If bees are bringing in pollen, it is a key indicator that I have a healthy laying queen in the hive and the colony needs the pollen to feed brood. If I do not see any pollen coming into the hive, it raises a mental "red-flag", and I need to check the hive closer, or possibly schedule a maintenance trip because I may not have brood.

Extended abdomen



Pollen loads


Mite Passengers?


When I initially built the system in 2007, I constructed a special IR - Infrared light studio/stage that existed above my top-bars and below the honey super within the hive.  This was a very interesting adventure, both for me and my poor bees.  Although these images look great in early spring (top 2 below), it was somewhat of a rookie maneuver, because I destroyed "bee-space" and this became a fatal problem to the bees. By Fall, I observed black-widow spiders move in and become very strong as they had a caged feast. Their shiny black body’s and silks are white in IR (Bottom 2 below).




Below are some sample images taken from HiveYear 2010 on September 23rd between 2pm-4pm. These cameras record the change in density of the cluster at the bottom bars. The black cap object is a grill protector for a directional microphone.








2010 New HDef Cam & Audio System

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