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Experiences using Borescopes?


Hi guys,

Sorry I have been away from the forum for a while.

I have been for some reason obsessing with getting a borescope (endoscopes are for humans) to help find out what is going on in the hive without having to disturb the bees. There are some borescopes on ebay where you can connect them to your mobile and record video of the borescope video - and cheap too.

Has anyone here been using them and found them useful? Would the closed nature inside the hive be an issue with focusing and being able to see clearly the bees and cells? Will bees get squashed by the scope as it is pretty tight spaced between frames? Any particular type/brand of borescope recommended?

I am not saying I want to avoid the traditional inspections, but it would be nice to be able to see for example how a new brood box is progressing, and for pests in weaker hives. I imagine using it before doing an inspection, so I can quickly target the suspicious frames.

Thanks in advance!


This would be one for DD (Doctor @Dawn_SD):wink:


I don’t think so! If the post said he wanted to use an “endoscope”, maybe!!! :smile:

I have only come across borescopes in the context of inspecting the interior condition of the cylinders of our aircraft engine. Never used one myself though. I certainly wouldn’t use one on a human being. :blush:

I would be interested to hear if @Philip_Waters decides to try one out on a hive. I would guess that the main issue will be getting the right angle to see what is happening, and then balancing the macro view with the need for a wide-angle perspective. If the scope has a diameter of much more than 4mm, it is going to be hard to get it between frames without damaging the comb. However, if you have the funds to get one and try it, this could be fascinating! :microscope:


I use one for work. I tried peeking into a wall cavity before I did a cut out and all I could see was bees. As soon as they see the light on the end they are all over it.


Hi all, I used a endoscope for years inspecting inside power poles, great for that, but may not be a good proposition for a Bee Hive, a friend is keen on putting a tiny camera in his, we will see how that goes, have fun with it all.


I use transparent top covers to achieve much the same aim. Just get a pane of glass or transparent plastic and fit into a thin wooden frame to create the correct top bee space for your type of hive.
To make mine I used a piece of greenhouse glazing, as the 18" square standard glazing size with a 1" wooden frame was just right to fit a National box. (of course you’ll have to adjust sizes if you have Langstroth or another type)

The advantage is that you don’t need to open up the hive at all to view the bees, so you can satisfy the curiosity without disturbing them at all, a big plus in winter when temperatures are down, you can check the stores they have, the location and size of the cluster without opening up.
I have found that you can see even more into the hive if you check during darkness and use a torch.

I also found that they are much less likely to get feisty when opening up, possibly because the first stage of taking the roof off allows light to enter the hive, and the second stage of lifting the top cover then isn’t quite so dramatic a change.
If you need to feed, then using an eke under the transparent top cover also allows you to check how much they’re taking or have left without opening up.

I’ve found it has so many advantages, it really would be a backward step if I went back to solid top covers.