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Video Camera In The Hive?

We see quite a few online webcams for many aspects of Nature, so we have been toying with placing a vid-cam inside the brood section of the full Flow hive we are waiting for, BUT… The camera illuminator turns on when it is dark and puts out an infra-red (IR) light, so my feelings are that this not good for the vision spectrum of the bees. I can imagine that after I turn on the camera, it upsets the bees and their functional patterns and now they don’t act like themselves due to the IR light flooding the inside of the hive (don’t want that). I do like my tech and would like to share the inside of our hive to the viewing public, but not at the cost of the strong IR signal possibly messing with the bee’s ability to function well. Does anybody have experience with this type of thing?

I did see the note about LED white lights in another post, so if it seems like the IR lights aren’t advisable, I could always crack open the camera and change it over to a white light instead. In addition to IR light affecting the bee’s visual spectrum, should I be concerned about the white light at night inside the hive affecting the bees?


As far as I’ve read, which is a lot, I am confident that the bees can’t see the IR light. So most likely they won’t notice it. Now one thing is they can’t see it and another is the long term exposure to IR. You can definitely cook your bees in very long exposure times. So if you turn the camera on for a few seconds every few minutes apart, to do like a time lapse or if you turn the camera on for a minute or so every 30 minutes or so, I think your bees will be fine.

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If you have true red, bees cannot see that nor any further down on the spectrum of light, including infrared. If you take the range of light a human can see and shift it up to ultra violet, this is the spectrum that bees see. From orange to UV. We see from red to violet.

It could be mounted through the wall, flush with the inside of the box. You would just want to seal it very well so that they hopefully ignore it and don’t propolize over the top of it. And the camera would have to be weather proofed from the outside as well.

But I agree I don’t know where you would be able to put the camera inside without making a large “empty” area.

Poor bees. Why on earth would anybody want to spy on them so minutely?

Ahh! Research, understanding how they behave, looking for potential problems, unobtrusive hive checks, Looking for pests and diseases, monitoring the health, looking for pollen and honey distribution, seeing if the hive is Queen right, looking for queen cells, seeing if the hive has or is about to swarm - No I can’t think of a single reason why bees need to be spied on


LOL the only problem with that is, with the proximity to the subject you are really only going to see a stationary 3-4" area at best. So it will likely be tricky to see all of that in such a small snapshot.

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Thanks for the reply. I decided to check around the 'net and found several sources that say the same.

Color Comparison Chart

So, the light spectrum doesn’t seem to be a problem, but Dexter is right, just placing the camera inside the brood box will invite “full coverage” conditions from the bees as they are likely to wax it up. We can make a mounting box (out of red cedar) on the outside of the hive and install an observation window to shoot through. I’ll do a photo-study of the inside of our present Langstroth hive and see which area is the most unmolested by the girls, for camera placement.

Thanks everybody else for your replies.

We had once taken our daughter, when she was much younger, to a museum that had an observation hive setup there. After she saw that, the rest of the museum was not half as interesting to her as watching the bees doing their thing. With that in mind, I figured this could develop into a school feed for science class or something. Could even reserve selected video snippets for playback of interesting functions of the hive that non-beeks would not experience without being there when opening the hive. I even have a picture of a fresh emergent worker sitting on top of a frame we had just pulled that we named Marilyn because she was so light colored, or perhaps, ‘blonde’. Things like that.

Every beekeeper should have an observation hive.

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Has anyone set up a video cam pointing at a hive entrance? I’m looking for a low cost cam that can be solar powered and connect to wifi to stream the video.

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Hi @ecarfan I have never done that, however I wondering what you intend on doing with all that video footage.

Buy Storch, “at the hive entrance” to go with it. Good reading. I’m sure it’s available as a free download somewhere.

My interest in streaming video showing the hive entrance is twofold:

I am considering placing a hive on my roof (for the reasons I posted here Does anyone locate their hive on a rooftop? ) and want to be able to easily monitor the activity at the entrance. I don’t have any obstacles to getting up on my roof as needed, but as a beginner just think that it would help me knowing when the bees are active and when they are not.

My wife has a fear of heights, and if I place a hive on my roof she likely won’t get to see it in person. With a video feed she can feel more involved in the hive.

I won’t be storing any of the video or making it available online, just want a realtime stream for personal use.


by H Storch “At the Hive Entrance”

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Thank you Valli. I’ve started reading that book. Some interesting quotes from the preface:

“A keeper who can tell the condition of his bees by observing the hive entrance does not need to open his hives and disturb the bees’ sanctuary, the brood nest. This never produces good results”.

“As long as the beekeeper cannot understand the inter- nal condition of the hive by watching the outside, he can only lose money and will have to pay his appren ticeship dearly.”