Monthly Archives: August 2010

BeeCam 5000 Mark II

The BeeCam 5000 is back online. The Mark I model only lasted a bit over 3 days with the original battery and solar panel configuation. I had my top scientists work on the problem (thanks Matt!), and after a redesign with a deep cycle battery, it has been redeployed into the field.

BeeCam 5000 Mark II

So I’ll finally be able to check the bees in the evening with the cooler weather and see if they are still clustering outside the hive.

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Cooler Weather Test

A cold front came through today bringing some random rain showers and much cooler temperatures. I’ll be very interested to see if the bearding on the hive is reduced this evening.

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My Poor Hot Bees

With temperatures hitting up to 105 degrees in the city, even the girls are complaining about the heat. Everything I’ve read seems to indicate it is just too hot for all of them to be in the hive at night. I’ve ordered a screened inner cover to help with ventilation, but it may not get here before the weekend.

My Poor Hot Bees

There is good news on the horizon as the temperatures are predicted to break by Friday and the highs should be back in the low 90’s. Rain is also a possibility which would be great as Austin is looking a bit dried out after two weeks of hot and dry weather.

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It’s 11:00 p.m. Do you know where your bees are?

Apparently, mine are all hanging outside the hive.

BeeCam Shot at 11:00pm

I always just assumed that all the bees went inside the hive at night leaving just a few guard bees at the entrance. Since the temps here are hitting 100+ each day, my best guess is the hive is still too warm for all the girls in the evening. Maybe I need to set the alarm for 3:00 a.m. to see if they are still outside, or if they all finally go inside.


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BeeCam 5000

The BeeCam 5000 will soon be the industry standard in portable yet functional webcam technology for the urban beekeeper of tomorrow. This solar powered beauty eliminates the need for those messy power cords, and uses the power of your wireless internets to stream video 24/7. The infrared camera will allow you to monitor your bees at night as well as capture any night time critters that may be bothering your hive. Developed by my friend Matt, I predict that every beekeeper will soon be installing this baby in their bee yards.

BeeCam 5000 Mark I

Until I can figure out how to embed the video feed directly into my blog, you can click here for live bee action!

Edit: This link may not work for those folks out there using IE.

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Giant Bees!

This is pretty awesome, and I’m continued to be amazed on how much more there is still to learn about these amazing creatures.

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Final Bee Attack Update

Here’s a link to what is most likely the last news article and video about the bee attack in Austin. It looks like Willard is out of intensive care, and bee keepers have come in and removed the hives.

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Bee Attack Additional Update

There are two video news stories that give more information and even have some video of the two hives they found. I couldn’t get the video to embed in my post so you’ll have to go directly to the news site to watch them. Although I must say, did they really have to put the 911 call in the story? Is it wrong that it is so comical, it makes me laugh?

Also, there was a nice piece on the victim of the attack in the Statesman, and he has now been upgraded to fair condition. I wish Willard a speedy recovery, and I hope he gets out of the hospital soon.

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Balm Sunday

After much debate on what to do with my beeswax, we decided that lip balm was the way to go since we probably only had enough to make one sad looking candle. My mother supplied the necessary materials for my birthday (thanks Mom!), and after tracking down the necessary oils around town, we were in business.

Sweet Almond Oil
Jojoba Oil
Grapefruit Essential Oil
Tubes and Filling Tray from Brushy Mountain Bee Farm
Electronic Scale
Plastic Pipette

Step 1: Assemble all the ingredients together. We used 2 parts beeswax, 1 part sweet almond oil, 1 part jojoba oil. I only had 113 grams of beeswax, so I used 56 grams of almond oil and 57 grams of jojoba oil.

Lip Balm Materials

Step 2: Weigh the beeswax.

Weighing Beeswax

Step 3: Add the oils in the proper proportions. The extract gets added later after everything is melted.

Weighing Beeswax and Oils

Step 4: Boil a a pan of water and then reduce to a simmer. Place your separate container of beeswax and oil into the water and stir occasionally until the wax is melted. Remove from water and add your essential oil of choice. We used grapefruit essential oil and added 2 mL. We followed the ratios from Majestic Mountain Sage which is also a good online source for lip balm ingredients.

Melted Ingredients

Step 5: Pour mixture into filling tray after letting it cool for 5 minutes.

Pouring Mixture into Tubes

Step 6: Wait for the mixture to cool in the tubes.

Tubes of Lip Balm

Step 7: Scrape off excess lip balm.

Scraping off excess wax

Step 8: Remove tubes from tray and cap.

Finished Product

We found our lip balm to have a good grapefruit flavor but not overpowering. It is also a bit hard, but stays on your lips for a long time. Next time, we may increase our oil a bit to have a slightly softer lip balm, but overall we are pleased with the results. We ended up with 36 filled tubes, and I still have some wax in the freezer.

Guess what everyone is getting for Christmas?

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Week 18 Activities

August continues to be hot and dry which is why I try and get out to the hive early in the morning before it hits 100. One of the first orders of business is lighting the smoker. Chickens are optional.

Chickens and Smoker

The inspection was fairly routine. The girls were mostly calm until I got down into the 2nd super, but even then nothing too concerning. The photo below shows me just starting to get into the 2nd super which is almost all brood.

I’m still finding queen cells, but the number has halved from a few weeks ago. I think feeding is helping get the frames in the 3rd super drawn out which is giving Large Marge more room for eggs. Below is a queen cell I scraped off one of the frames in the 2nd super.

Queen Cell

I’m looking forward to some cooler weather come September, and the fall nectar flow for a chance for one last honey harvest before winter.

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