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HI guys. My wife bought me a prime perfect hand held thermal camera for christmas and its pretty cool . However my hives are wrapped with 2 inch foam insulation on 3 sides and black tar paper under the insulation.
I get no heat signature with the camera through the foam insulation so today i tried it on the uninsulated side ( just black tar paper)-> still pick up no heat signature even though i know for a fact these hives are alive.

Any thoughts before i return the camera?
 

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I don't have one, did you try it at night or dark, try it at night on one side of your house that has windows. If you get it working post what model, I'm getting bored and need something to do b/4 we get buried with snow. One person I know has a flir, shot two hives one showed up one didn't but they were both alive.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
ill try it after work tonight. I found at least one post on beesource says the thermal cameras wont work through wrapped hives...Hope this isnt true because the camera is super cool to play with
 

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well I went and looked at the guys post using the flir, he did it at night and this was his comment, it was also done at 18 degree F.

There are two pairs of pictures. So if you over lap them you can see what I was taking a picture of.
These were examples, I took lots of pictures from different angles.
The first picture, the hive is wrapped with 30lb paper and plastic pallet wrap to hold it on. Seems we can see right through it!
so he is getting through the tar paper and plastic but I would guess it would be harder with the insulation.

Also, there is this thing called reflective thermal image. Or something like that. So when the sun is shining a good picture can not be taken. Needs to be done after the warmth of the sun has dissipated.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
well I went and looked at the guys post using the flir, he did it at night and this was his comment, it was also done at 18 degree F.



so he is getting through the tar paper and plastic but I would guess it would be harder with the insulation.
Ok cool thanks Mike ill try it tonight. I think ill get one of those endoscope gadgerizers too...that also seems pretty cool to play with.
Ironically im actually a gastroenterologist so endoscopy is literally my job
 

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HI guys. My wife bought me a prime perfect hand held thermal camera for christmas and its pretty cool . However my hives are wrapped with 2 inch foam insulation on 3 sides and black tar paper under the insulation.
I get no heat signature with the camera through the foam insulation so today i tried it on the uninsulated side ( just black tar paper)-> still pick up no heat signature even though i know for a fact these hives are alive.

Any thoughts before i return the camera?
Here are some pictures of some of my hives that I took with my FLIR ONE PRO.

https://www.flir.com/products/flir-one-pro/?model=435-0011-03

For the price they do pretty good. Not the best but not bad. They were offering a 25% discount to beekeepers back before Christmas but not sure about now. They also had a deal that included a free Power Bank with the purchase of the camera.

The first pic is a single double deep nuc that is wrapped with a triple layer of Reflectix bubble insulation with 3 inches of polyisocyanurate insulation board over the top of 2 half gallon syrup feeder jars covered by a deep box.

The 2nd pic is a group of 5 nucleus colonies pushed together and wrapped as above. The nucs in this group on the 2 left side are single deep and the 3 on the right side are double deep. you can see the heat signature of the doubles stands out and the 2 singles shows just a small amount maybe a few inches of heat signature. This shows how well the Reflectix works which is the dark band around the bottom boxes of the group.

The 3rd pic is a 10 frame double deep hive that is insulated with a Easy-On Bee Hive cover and a Bee Cozy of top of it. The uncovered box on top showing heat signature is a deep box covering a 1 gallon bucket feeder that has 3 inches of polyisocyanurate insulation board cut to fit inside the box as all the others are above.

The 4th pic is another group of 5 nucs pushed together like pic #2 with three strong double deep nucs on the left and two single deeps on the right. Again the dark band at the bottom is a triple layer of Reflectix.

The 5th and last pic is a very strong triple deep 10 frame hive that I condensed down from a 4 deep recombined hive that has a Easy-On Beehive Cover that has a Bee Cozy on top of it. There is a single deep Bee Cozy on top of the stack. You can still see a sliver of heat signature at the very top on the telescoping inner cover. You can also see very thin slivers of heat signature between the Double and Single Bee Cozy.

As you can see, the insulation is significantly reducing the amount of thermal energy being lost by these hives and both the Bee Cozy and the Reflectix does a VERY good job of insulating. In my opinion, the Easy-On Beehive Cover does an OK job but it only has 1/2" thick EPS insulation which is at best R-4 but the cost of each Easy-On Beehive Cover is about $30. I think that is a bit pricey for the insulation you get. In my opinion, 1.5 inches of polyisocyanurate insulation would be MUCH better than a 1/2" of EPS. Overall the Easy-On Beehive Covers are of very good quality.

The Bee Cozy in my opinion provides the best out of the box ready to install beehive insulation that provides R-8 insulation value but again the cost is prohibitively high for a product that is VERY susceptible to damage from mice, for some reason Bob Cats like to sharpen their claws on my Bee Cozies (LOL!), and are easy punctured or torn open if not VERY carefully installed. You can expect maybe 3 years of usage at best in most cases. In more residential areas they may last much longer. STILL, at a cost of about $28 each (less if you buy them in bulk down to $20 each) they are VERY expensive in my opinion for the what you get and how long they last.

The Reflectix has held up the best. So far, I have been using the same Reflectix Bubble insulation for 3 years and it still looks pretty much the same. It takes about 4 layers maybe 5 to equal R-8 - R-9 but it sure does hold up well even if mice chew on it, I am still able to use it again because it does not get water soaked. It is pretty easy to store when not being used too. Still it is not the solution I am looking for.

Next year I plan to try John Mansville 1.5" polyisocyanurate foam board insulation that will be cut into pieces that will be used to cover the outside of the hive boxes with 45 degree angle cuts that will allow a perfect 90 degree square and taped together with Zip Tape.

https://www.lowes.com/pd/ZIP-System-90-ft-Panel-System-Tape/50373856

https://www.lowes.com/pd/Johns-Manv...ft-x-8-ft-Actual-1-5-in-x-4-ft-x-8-ft/3851109

When insulating like I have shown above, you WILL need to provide some means of hive ventilation to mitigate condensation build up. Some condensation is OK as the bees will consume it but too much cases problems with mold and dripping onto the cluster. I use an Immerie Shim with an upper entrance notch cut in it for ventilation and an upper entrance but this may not be feasible with nucleus colonies due to robbing. A 3/4" screened off hole cut in the insulation board on top of the hive may be another solution provided there is some opening to the outside of the hive.

Just a few thoughts on this topic.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Here are some pictures of some of my hives that I took with my FLIR ONE PRO.

https://www.flir.com/products/flir-one-pro/?model=435-0011-03

For the price they do pretty good. Not the best but not bad. They were offering a 25% discount to beekeepers back before Christmas but not sure about now. They also had a deal that included a free Power Bank with the purchase of the camera.
Are your hives wrapped? It looks to me like they are in the pics.
I guess i was hoping to see the little ball of color where the cluster is but these gadgets dont seem to want to shoot through the paper/insulation.

Now i have to weigh the benefits of the thermal camera vs the benefits of wrapping the colonies . ( i could just leave the insulation on 3 sides and the top and not wrap the side of the hives that is away from the wind i guess)
 

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It's better to use a FLIR first thing in the morning, as opposed to evening. The heat signature from the wooden-ware will be higher in the evening due to the wooden-ware retaining heat. The bee clusters show up better in the AM.
 

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It's better to use a FLIR first thing in the morning, as opposed to evening. The heat signature from the wooden-ware will be higher in the evening due to the wooden-ware retaining heat. The bee clusters show up better in the AM.
Agree and second that. :thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter #10
It's better to use a FLIR first thing in the morning, as opposed to evening. The heat signature from the wooden-ware will be higher in the evening due to the wooden-ware retaining heat. The bee clusters show up better in the AM.
Bugger...i tried it this am on my way to work. Darn it sounds like this just isnt gonna work out after all.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Here are some pictures of some of my hives that I took with my FLIR ONE PRO.

https://www.flir.com/products/flir-one-pro/?model=435-0011-03

For the price they do pretty good. Not the best but not bad. They were offering a 25% discount to beekeepers back before Christmas but not sure about now. They also had a deal that included a free Power Bank with the purchase of the camera.

The first pic is a single double deep nuc that is wrapped with a triple layer of Reflectix bubble insulation with 3 inches of polyisocyanurate insulation board over the top of 2 half gallon syrup feeder jars covered by a deep box.

The 2nd pic is a group of 5 nucleus colonies pushed together and wrapped as above. The nucs in this group on the 2 left side are single deep and the 3 on the right side are double deep. you can see the heat signature of the doubles stands out and the 2 singles shows just a small amount maybe a few inches of heat signature. This shows how well the Reflectix works which is the dark band around the bottom boxes of the group.

The 3rd pic is a 10 frame double deep hive that is insulated with a Easy-On Bee Hive cover and a Bee Cozy of top of it. The uncovered box on top showing heat signature is a deep box covering a 1 gallon bucket feeder that has 3 inches of polyisocyanurate insulation board cut to fit inside the box as all the others are above.

The 4th pic is another group of 5 nucs pushed together like pic #2 with three strong double deep nucs on the left and two single deeps on the right. Again the dark band at the bottom is a triple layer of Reflectix.

The 5th and last pic is a very strong triple deep 10 frame hive that I condensed down from a 4 deep recombined hive that has a Easy-On Beehive Cover that has a Bee Cozy on top of it. There is a single deep Bee Cozy on top of the stack. You can still see a sliver of heat signature at the very top on the telescoping inner cover. You can also see very thin slivers of heat signature between the Double and Single Bee Cozy.

As you can see, the insulation is significantly reducing the amount of thermal energy being lost by these hives and both the Bee Cozy and the Reflectix does a VERY good job of insulating. In my opinion, the Easy-On Beehive Cover does an OK job but it only has 1/2" thick EPS insulation which is at best R-4 but the cost of each Easy-On Beehive Cover is about $30. I think that is a bit pricey for the insulation you get. In my opinion, 1.5 inches of polyisocyanurate insulation would be MUCH better than a 1/2" of EPS. Overall the Easy-On Beehive Covers are of very good quality.

The Bee Cozy in my opinion provides the best out of the box ready to install beehive insulation that provides R-8 insulation value but again the cost is prohibitively high for a product that is VERY susceptible to damage from mice, for some reason Bob Cats like to sharpen their claws on my Bee Cozies (LOL!), and are easy punctured or torn open if not VERY carefully installed. You can expect maybe 3 years of usage at best in most cases. In more residential areas they may last much longer. STILL, at a cost of about $28 each (less if you buy them in bulk down to $20 each) they are VERY expensive in my opinion for the what you get and how long they last.

The Reflectix has held up the best. So far, I have been using the same Reflectix Bubble insulation for 3 years and it still looks pretty much the same. It takes about 4 layers maybe 5 to equal R-8 - R-9 but it sure does hold up well even if mice chew on it, I am still able to use it again because it does not get water soaked. It is pretty easy to store when not being used too. Still it is not the solution I am looking for.

Next year I plan to try John Mansville 1.5" polyisocyanurate foam board insulation that will be cut into pieces that will be used to cover the outside of the hive boxes with 45 degree angle cuts that will allow a perfect 90 degree square and taped together with Zip Tape.

https://www.lowes.com/pd/ZIP-System-90-ft-Panel-System-Tape/50373856

https://www.lowes.com/pd/Johns-Manv...ft-x-8-ft-Actual-1-5-in-x-4-ft-x-8-ft/3851109

When insulating like I have shown above, you WILL need to provide some means of hive ventilation to mitigate condensation build up. Some condensation is OK as the bees will consume it but too much cases problems with mold and dripping onto the cluster. I use an Immerie Shim with an upper entrance notch cut in it for ventilation and an upper entrance but this may not be feasible with nucleus colonies due to robbing. A 3/4" screened off hole cut in the insulation board on top of the hive may be another solution provided there is some opening to the outside of the hive.

Just a few thoughts on this topic.
I have 2 inch foam insulation on the wind ward side of the hives, and around the sides, between the hives and on the top and under the outer cover. Under that insulation is tar paper. So the fronts of the hives have only tar paper ( this is the side away from the wind).
Im happy there is little heat escaping from the insulation but the thermal camera probably isnt much use to me if i cant see a definite heat signature with the insulation present.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
ok so i just peeled back the black tar paper on the front ( away from the wind) of one of the hives and used the prime perfect thermal camera ( IR0005)
-> sure enough nice big ball shaped heat signature in the bottom box.
So next year i will just leave the front of the hives without tar paper. It has little if any R value anyways.
 

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ok so i just peeled back the black tar paper on the front ( away from the wind) of one of the hives and used the prime perfect thermal camera ( IR0005)
-> sure enough nice big ball shaped heat signature in the bottom box.
So next year i will just leave the front of the hives without tar paper. It has little if any R value anyways.
If the tar paper is concealing the heat signature, it is providing enough R value to hide it from the camera. I would not leave the hives without it at your latitude. If you want to have an idea of the temperatures inside your insulated hives, you can install a Broodminder kit which will show temperatures in the upper and lower brood boxes as well as the hive weight and ambient temperature. This may not be economically practical if you have a several hives.
 

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I have a FLIR 1 and get fiew degree signature so the contrast is limited. Get a awesome picture of the cluster when I take off the top even with the cluster mostly out of visual site in the bottom box.

Also good for finding the missing insulation in my house.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
If the tar paper is concealing the heat signature, it is providing enough R value to hide it from the camera. I would not leave the hives without it at your latitude. If you want to have an idea of the temperatures inside your insulated hives, you can install a Broodminder kit which will show temperatures in the upper and lower brood boxes as well as the hive weight and ambient temperature. This may not be economically practical if you have a several hives.
yeah you are right it must have at least some R value given it hides the heat signature.

I have 26 hives going.
 

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Pictures of my 3 hives. Unwrapped. the Horizontal is made of 2X12 lumber that will have a much higher R-value than tar paper/roofing felt. (although i am not sure what the impact of the air gap is)

Alex
FLIR-4.jpg FLIR-5.jpg FLIR-6.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #20
i took a bunch of pics now both with and without the paper on the fronts of the hives.
If someone can help me post them im happy to share them.
 
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