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Are bees alive? How effective is FLIR? Treat? Open?


Using FLIR to check if hives are alive.


Regardless of the temperature i.e. cold the bees are going to keep the hive at around or close to 93°. the FLIR would absolutely see this heat ball.

Why don’t you stand outside near the hive with your camera in a single spot for a good 2 or 3 minutes and then move your feet and photograph the ground you should see a different heat temperature. This will help understand if your FLIR is working correctly. Naturally you can always take a picture of your house or your body your hand to see as well.

But absolutely the box would retain a little bit of temperature difference/heat


This is the sensible thing.
There is nothing you can do at this time of year.
You will need to shut the hive up to prevent robbing when the weather warms up but you will be able to look in then.
So sorry if you have lost them.
If they have succumbed to mites it is really important to treat the other hive

PS…squash your ear to each side in turn and tap the hive . If there are bees in there you will hear them


HUGS, so sorry :disappointed_relieved:


Don’t give up, and here is a nice soft ultra-plush Kleenex for those tears.

Mites are a bummer. What worries me is that the current fashion in beekeeping is to be complacent about varroa. VSH genetics have a role, but they are not a full answer. Survivor genetics/colonies are great, but not the whole answer.

Personally, I really didn’t like Ronald Reagan all that much, but he said one or two very wise things, like “Trust, but verify”. That is how I feel about varroa. You can hope that VSH and survivor genes will help, but you have to verify with sugar roll tests etc. Then if those factors are letting your colonies down, you need other options, organic and non-organic treatments if needed. If you have a large apiary, you can ignore this and allow natural selection to take its course, then repopulate your dead-out hives from splits you need to make from your survivors.

Hobbyists are going to be very disillusioned if they only have one hive and varroa exacts a 50% mortality. :disappointed_relieved:


Hi Cowgirl, I’m really sorry to hear of your sad news. I know the feeling. I did something to kill a really strong colony once & learned a valuable lesson I’ll never forget. It’s not a pretty sight, looking at all of those dead bees. We just have to move on & do our best to try & prevent it from happening again.



I realize you have lost the one hive and I am sad for/with you.

But to comment on the FLIR, I looked at mine a few weeks ago and 2 hives showed a bee cluster and 2 did not. I was concenered so I took a peak (much bigger peak today since it was warm) and the 2 that I could not see on the camera were very much alive and well. So maybe it depends on how good you FLIR camera is but mine doesn’t aways show them.

Hope your second hive makes it.




I guess I’m a little confused, have you opened the hive and realize they are dead? Being very concerned about mind after reading your post I went out and took a look at mine through my FLIR as well.
Instead of opening the hive from the top I slit the bottom board back a few inches and just did a video looking up through the screen at the bottom with the camera. I was able to see some activity and crawling around.

Sorry to hear about your loss if I’m reading this correctly. But you’ve helped a lot of people by posting so look in the success and that and please don’t give up


so both hives are ok, just one had some dead bees?


HUGS HUGS, Thank you for sharing HUGS


So so sorry.

Too true.
There are too many people (some on here) banging on about not treating bees.
To aim this at beginners with one or two hives with little experience is tantamount to negligence…in my opinion.



I am at computer now or I can really reply was on my phone most of yesterday reading your post and replying the best I could.

This just terrifies me. Again thank you for posting my heart really bleeds for you right now for I know the time when I opened up my hive and I rotated the frame and part of the comb fell out with all the larvae laying on the ground I was sick for several days worrying and thinking about it. I strived to learn from that experience like I know you will learn from yours, these are all baby steps I see Valli Is the one that helped me learn how to hold the frame and rotated. I don’t remember exactly if she posted a video of her doing it or posted some videos of someone else doing it, nevertheless I give her credit. We are all learning here and just because one way of doing something may not be the only or best way.

Yesterday I went home early just so I could take a look at my girls and mourn your loss.

I’m going to do another Mite count this weekend. Thank you for the reminder that this needs to be a continual action.


Marty, Eva n all,

Last Autumn I also had two colonies circume to the nasty critters, I had treated but two n three weeks later two of my hives were history. My other 3 moved on successful.

Now in January I have a 3rd teetering on checking out but I’m not saying the benediction quite yet. My Birch hive is a triple deep setup. Flir did not give me nope several weeks ago …

. I listened but if they were in there it was very small ( my other two were really humming )… On a little warmer day I popped the top to check my winter patties … Looked dead until I lifted one pattie n several guards came up to great me. I had a head veil on so took my brilliant LED flashlight n quickly looked deeper. It isn’t a big cluster but not a die-out yet either. On our warmest day (53.0F) last early last week a few bees were going in/out while the other two hives were so busy. So I know it’s still hanging in there ! .

Beekeeping is like sailing. Sometimes crazy happy n exciting n other time sad n disappointing. I’m trying to enjoy the highs but steer a mid ground course. It’s one weird crazy learn experience n curve … I’ve learned a lot n much more to GO …, patience is the hardest n learning from
my disappointments.

Cheers all,


@Cowgirl I am so sorry to hear the news. I know it is difficult - especially after following or taking what were thought to be the right steps and investing so much time and effort.

The University of Georgia Cooperative Extension agent for my region is a certified Master beekeeper as well as a Welsh honey judge. Between the two clubs I am a member of, I have seen him speak 3 times on different subjects. The man knows his stuff. He’s also a tad gruff and a no-nonsense sort of fellow that pooh poohs the Flow hive.

Anyways, last Fall he gave a very good presentation on varroa mites and in no uncertain terms told us that a fair number of us were going to lose colonies - no matter what we did. All we could do was to do our best to mitigate the circumstances and follow best practices.

Then he said that he knew a lot of us were new and that we would be disappointed or even saddened. Said that we may even want to quit. He also said to remember that we’re learning and that failure facilitates greater learning and understanding. Stick to it and don’t quit.

That’s pretty deep and encouraging.

Then again, he also said, “…and don’t cry. They’re just bugs.”


Inspirational @Bobby_Thanepohn, thank you so much for sharing this. :heart_eyes:


You’re welcome.

This gentleman spoke at the very first bee club meeting I ever went to. That was October in the Fall of 2015. I was eagerly awaiting the delivery of my Flow Hive and so after the meeting, I asked him his thoughts on it.

Mistake. He was one of those ardent Flow Hive naysayers. But his negativity had a positive effect on me. I strove to not be what he feared.


Sailing= standing in the shower and ripping up $100 bills ( trust me I know) I am coming up to my first autumn / winter with bee keeping and hope the pain in the pocket is not as bad…


It isn’t… You only need $5 bills… :imp: :smile: :wink: :blush:

P.S. Speaking as a pilot and former owner of a small aircraft! :slight_smile:


Bit like putting your kids through private education and university


I installed my NUC March 12, 2016, So not quite when year yet. I ran into several those already myself. Due to everything I’ve learned, the bee club I go to has ask me to speak April meeting. They want me to talk for 45 minutesOn everything I have learned.

I only can guess is that like many people on here and especially I look up to Valli in immersing ourselves in learning and trying to read and understand what is false and or just tradition or it’s always been done in this way. I’ve tried not to apply any of that baby steps baby steps trust test and verify.

They have asked that I talk nothing about the flow frames just yet, they want that talk to occur in the fall. That way I will have at least 2 seasons under my belt using the frames and I’m hoping as many as 4 or 5 harvest.

I really feel for cowgirls loss and am trying to figure out all I need to understand how can I apply what I’ve learned from reading these post.