Monday, October 1, 2012

Bee Vlog - September 29, 2012

I built a portable hive scale from the design over at, but had not used the originally intended L-brackets of the design and had used some narrower ones instead. This didn't work well at all, so I upgraded my build to use the correct, stronger L-brackets, which works much better.

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I've had a lot more practice and experience lighting up the smoker now. I had several failures early on and was quite frustrated with it. You'd think it to be a simple and easy thing to do. Well, it is if you do it right and I was doing it wrong. After some more YouTube research and advice from a comment on one of my other videos I finally got a much better technique. Now the smoker lasts me a good hour or more. I could also extend that time if I filled it even more. Sometimes if I leave the smoker for 10-15 minutes it can look dead, but I just give it a couple puffs and it comes right back to life.

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Hive weigh-in -
Queen Anne: 130.4 lbs (probably a more reliable weight after fixing the scale)

This is the final "open hive" inspection for Queen Anne this year. I went through the lower 2 boxes, but didn't go through every frame. I still got to see the queen though, which is very surprising and lucky. Everything looked good. I have no concerns about them surviving the winter. But I also don't really know what to expect.

I installed an entrance reducer. The hive entrance is only 1/2 inch tall, so I'm not worried about mice getting in, but the yellow jackets are getting really aggressive right now. I'm just giving them a smaller entrance to guard.

It's going to be tough not getting to open the hive up for the next few months. I'll still be doing external inspections and taking hive weights, which don't require opening the hive.

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I signed up for a free hive tracking website ( that has some cool features for mobile, on-site, record keeping. In this video I do a quick overview of some of the mobile features and demonstrate creating a hive inspection record.

It's a pretty cool site with many convenient features. However, I would like it if there was a mobile app available that would work offline and sync with the online database. This would make it possible to do onsite records without a data plan or if you're in an area that did not have data service.

I didn't cover it in the video, but I also like the map feature on the website. You can have the option to publicly share your location with other users. It doesn't share any details publicly, just a pin on the map. The nice thing about this is you can see how many other sites are in the vicinity. Although, it would be nice if there was an of indicator of how many hives are at each site. Having 20 neighbors with 1 or 2 hives is very different from having one neighbor with 500 hives.

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Hive weigh-in -
Queen Beatrice: 104 lbs (probably a more reliable weight after fixing the scale)

This is the final "open hive" inspection for Queen Beatrice this year. I lucked out here too and got to see the queen. Their population is smaller than Queen Anne, but they still seem strong and capable. It should be interesting to see how well they do through winter.

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(This post added to Beeline Buzz Hop #1. Check it out to see what other beekeepers are up to.)


  1. The public mapping feature does sound interesting. How many hive sites are near you? I was surprised to learn how many beekeepers were in my town when I first began to find out about them. Beehives can be hidden just about anywhere. This would be a great post to share with my readers on the Beeline Buzz Hop! Check it out!

    1. The map doesn't show many hives near me currently. The closest ones are shown about 5 miles away. This feature requires that the other beekeepers not only use the same tool, but share their location, which is an opt-in feature. So I'm hoping this tool catches on and more people share their sites. But I know of a few other friends around me that also keep bees.

      Thanks for the Beeline Buzz Hop recommendation. I'll check it out.