Monday, February 29, 2016

Little 3-4mm jumping spider

These were hard shots to get, as it hopped around a lot & was so small it was hard to keep track of, much less focus on the eyes.  Click to enlarge for a better look.

It hopped onto the mm rule

As taken, 1:1 no cropping

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Candy boards

Info on building these and the also idea comes from here:

This is how Todd, a valuable member of the WVBA. does it. These are his photos and description. Click to enlarge


I installed these on seven of my hives in the fall. I just checked and they still have loads of sugar left.

I used 10lb of sugar per board. I didn't add any pollen patties, 

I also cut and press fit a piece of 1/2" insulation board into the top cover. I didn't worry about covering the hive bodies.

I feel that there are several  advantages to these boards.
It is cheap insurance, as they didn't take long to build, and as Todd says above, anything left over can be mixed into syrup in the spring

Rain is a big factor here in the PNW., and the sugar absorbs moisture and the excess moisture is evacuated through the upper hole which also gives the bees a handy and close exit on suitable days. Last year I just dumped sugar on the inner cover, but I think this is easier on the bees as it is closer to the cluster and it also doesn't chill them as much when inspecting as they won't be up on the inner cover when the outer cover is removed. I can see the state of the candy board through the hole in the inner cover without removing it.

Winter inspections are quick and easy by simply lifting the cover quickly to see if there is still sugar. The state of the bees themselves can then be checked from outside the hive with the FLIR One which not only locates the cluster, but gives a pretty good idea about it's size.

                                                      Video proof of concept of the candy frames. 

                      Look at the heat coming out of that small vent hole on the candy board frame below on top of the upper deep! (and moisture too of course)

Friday, February 12, 2016

I have a swarm trap full of bees!!! Viewed with the FLIR One

This is a 6 frame swarm trap which I left alone with a swarm in it to see if it would over winter. It was nearing fall & I didn't want them to have to rebuild comb, so I left them alone as an experiment. It was time to change the camera cards in a couple of game cams & I thought I would justify the FLIR ONE purchase & use it to check out the trap.

Much to my surprise it is full of bees! The display has a range of color combinations I can use. This one shows the entire box hot with the main cluster on the right 1/2 which is normal, as that is where the entrance is. They were flying in & out.

Left side

 Right side

 Bottom view

The Willys MB

It seems I have more hives that I thought I had.

FLIR ONE Hive check

The FLIR ONE Generation 2 is a small infrared camera that plugs into a smart phone. 
It can't be beat for checking hives in the winter when you don't want to open them.

As usual, click one to enlarge,

Some of the hives 

Looks like the feral hive in the wall upstairs is also doing well! 
(to the right of the window)

The top bar swarm that moved in.

Useful for finding anything putting out heat. It can even register the output of a single insect.
A honey bee entering the top bar hive.
(the little white spec)

This is an alder bug on the window

Monday, February 8, 2016

Bees mating and snow drops

Spring is early!
Bees are all over the snow drops. I had to lay down for these shots.Please enlarge them for a better look at the bees.

Honey Bees (Apini) » Apis » Western Honey Bee (Apis mellifera)

 Mining Bees (Andrenidae) » Mining Bees (Andreninae) » Andrena
several frame focus stack

single shot

Sweat Bees (Halictidae) » Halictinae » Halictini » Sphecodes
Cuckoo bees mating

A goodbye kiss?

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Yet another elk photo

They spent the day napping on the hill above the barn. Saw them when we got up, and they were still there at 5 pm.
Panorama of two shots spliced together.

We admired them as we ate an early dinner of back-strap (elk) smothered in shiitake mushrooms with onions and garlic.  They show up a little better clicked on & enlarged.