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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Have been keeping track of my colonies with a temperature probe I stick in through the small upper vent / emergency exit holes. The way I have them wrapped in twos and threes makes it impossible to quickly take a peek in. I have been seeing such little flying out into the snow this winter that for a while I was worried they were in trouble.

I cobbled up these probes with some 7$ Amazon remote thermometers taped to a welding rod so I could push them in. I was pleased to see temperatures of ~ 86F in the feed ring atop the frames. Most clusters seem to show the highest temp about 2/3 the way to the rear but one colony seems to be well off to one side. I am guessing that temperature indicates they have started rearing brood.

I dont know why I waited so many years to do this; guess reading Beesource gives some good ideas!:thumbsup:
 

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It sounds like they’re brooding up, from what I’ve read they maintain a 70F broodless and kick it up to 90 when rearing brood. Can you post a link to the probes Frank? I’ve wanted to do that for a while, sounds like a good idea to play with.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Here is one on Amazon. What I ordered probably identical was 2 for 15.99$ Can. The pickup is about 1/8 th inch diameter and I just taped it and the wire lead to a 1/8" welding rod. The lead wire is 3 feet or so long. I did have to wait a month for shipping from China. With the COVID 19 scenario I dont know how long it might be now:rolleyes:. Attn: Sterilize it well before you stick it under your tongue to check your own temperature.;)

https://www.amazon.ca/Practical-Dig...430241&sprefix=thermometer+wi,aps,174&sr=8-71
 

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Frank,

I built one several years ago much as you describe. I enjoy having it in my "tool box" for quick and dirty winter checks when I don't want to pop the top.

Cheers,
Steve
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Please excuse my ignorance. Why do you track the temperature?
I guess I should have said "check occasionally" rather than track. I cant hear them and had been seeing very few diving in the snow. I guess I got insulation, ventilation and inside water condensation at a good balance. Good indicator too, that nosema levels not high. From those temperatures I am confident they are starting to brood up.

I plan to raise a few queens next summer and want to order a couple of additional nucs for a bit more diversity so I wanted to be sure how many colonies looked good. The way they are wrapped makes visual inspection very difficult.

We cant get Ontario queens till first week in June and if you want to guarantee the nucs you want, you have to have your deposits well ahead. I drove 600 miles last spring to get replacement nucs and they were Chilean imports. Turned out well but just a tad spicy and a bit thieving.
 

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I use this one from ambientweather.com. It has a flexible wire to allow me to place it where the queen is at (and hopefully the brood chamber stays for the winter). I don't always link them up to the station in my house, but I let the display hang outside my hive for easy reading when I walk up to it.

https://www.ambientweather.com/amws09.html

IMG_20191110_163358559.jpg

IMG_20191110_163443536.jpg

As you can see, some of mine get quite toasty
 

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I have a home made data logger on one of my hives. It is interesting, but does not make up for regular hive inspections and experience. I did this because it seemed interesting to me, and this is a hobby.

I started in April 2017 (first year, with a package) and lost this hive in October 2019. The data ends in October 2019 because that is when I lost the hive, but I am planning on putting a package in this hive come spring.

This is from a scale under the hive:
weight 2017-oct 2019.jpg

This is what the humidity in the hive has been doing. In early 2018 I went from solid inner covers to quilt boxes due to mold problems. The humidity sensor was/is on the bottom of the inner cover/quilt box
humidity 2017-oct 2019.jpg

This is a temperature sensor on the bottom of the inner cover/quilt box
hive top temperature 2017-oct 2019.jpg

This is the temperature in the middle of a frame in the bottom deep box. This temperature sensor is a bit flaky (it is not -20 here) but it gives you some idea of the cluster temperature when the cluster/brood nest is over the temperature sensor.
frame center temperature 2017-oct 2019.jpg

Enjoy,
 

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elmer,

I think that your data collection process is wonderful and I believe that there is a lot more information there than you realize. That is something that I have wanted to do for a number of years but I'm just not geeky enough to put it together myself.

Thank you for sharing your data with us on BS.

Cheers,
Steve
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Bear Creek,

There are several interesting things I have found, I was more trying to make a point that technology can not replace experience and proper inspections.

Here are some more interesting graphs if you are interested

A few pounds of bees coming and going every day during the summer
july 2019 weights.jpg

I also think brood cells cools down for a few days during the brood rearing cycle. I don't have a lot of proof of this (and proof that my sensor is not wonky) but the timeline looks about right. I am not sure if the empty cells are not kept as warm or if something else is going on.

jul aug 2017 temperatures.jpg

This is the frame with the temperature sensor
P4271132 cropped.jpg
 

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Hello Frank,

I went with the broodminder solution when they started up about four years ago and bought four units at the startup crowd funding, rather then re-inventing the wheel.

They had some initial problems with the humidity sensor they where using, but that got fixed free of charge by replacing the units. So, then I had 8 and i did not care much about the humidity sensors for my double deep broods. I use the good, newer sensors in the top of four hives, where the moisture collects and the older in the bottom box. My placement is top of B1 and top of B2, 2" moved from the inspection hole. It is interesting to see the change of both values during the winter and the year. Where I feel the humidity on top of B2 is much more important then all the temp. readings.

The beauty with Rick's solution is that they have already all the reporting to cloud setup and keep improving their systems. What I don't like and have mentioned it many times is the lack of battery life and I feel a cabled version with an outside battery source, perhaps solar charged would be the 'cats miau', something I don't have the time or expertise for.

Again, the temperature is certainly important, but more so the change of temp. between B1 & B2 and the humidity in the top part of the hives. (Sample below)

Screenshot 2020-03-07.jpg
 

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I am glad to see I am not the only one monitoring hives. I went with simple dial thermometers at first, added three cheap( 38.00) weather stations to record temperature ( +/-1) and relative humidity ( +/-7%) ( worked great) as observation and learning tools. I am focusing on temperature regulation and it's effects on relative humidity as I change hive designs. I may have learned enough now to ask questions. The next stage may be deploying an array of accurate humidity sensors - humidity sensor technology has been evolving rapidly and cost coming down, especially the actual sensor cost. My goal is to understand hive design requirements. BTW, my clusters stay centered now or so it seems.

I think I see homeostasis in the hive for my external environmental conditions and can clearly see the advent of increased brood rearing with the approaching Spring. Good luck
 

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Frank, I find it a lot easier when I changed my insulation over to a removable design. I can even check an internal, top mounted dial thermometer when needed. It quickly tells me a cluster exist. I have been using a cheap, three external sensors, La Crosse weather station for two winters now - works well. I read the values each morning with coffee and use a pencil to write down hive values and observations.

Jim Braun - Temperature is something the bees can regulate really well if given the chance. It is also easy to measure, accurately. It is a clear indicator of life in a hive. Where you measure it is important as to what it means. I am learning that the bees regulate temperature to control relative humidity all four seasons. I now have no top vents and and enclosing insulation except for a bottom entrance. It snowed here last night and my three monitored hives were warm (65-77F) with relative humidities 72-81% (+/- 7% accuracy) which means a non-condensing environment at the top of the hive. Thus dry, warm bees with good humidity - better than my house!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I definitely will make my top covers individually accessible next season. I would like to know what is the relative humidity my system is providing for the bees. Would like to be able to see the difference between air tight top insulation compared to the 5 inches of shavings I have. There would be some air flow but I think very little. Some wicking seems to occur but (I think) not to the point of being detrimental. Seems to be some consensus that the bees like to be able to get some free water inside the hive to wet their whistles with.

Am not seeing near as much suicidal flying out as I have in times past but that kind of conjecture thinking is pretty weak because the flying out effect could be varied too, by different nosema levels from year to year. Data logging has a better chance of sorting out what really makes things tick. I like to have the feeling that I am understanding why. That feeling is better than just having the right answer.

I thought my wintering was just dandy till I got a couple of curve ball events. EFB that took me from 13 colonies going into one winter down to 5 the next winter. The following spring those 5 became only 1 healthy and 1 alive but queenless. Suffocation could have been responsible but there was also unusually lot of poop soiled frames. No top entrance or ventilation that winter was likely part of the chain of events. I much prefer certainty to likelys and could have beens! Guess I should have taken up something other than beekeeping eh?:rolleyes:

This winter seems like it will be 5 for 5:thumbsup: I have a couple of Nucs on order anyways so I have a bit of flexibility with the games I can play with the bees and still get a bit of honey. Past summer I had to borrow honey from my son to keep my regular customers happy.
 
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