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My Very Best Beekeeping Tool

The very best beekeeping tool I've ever owned has been a good quality, pocket-sized camera that has great macro focusing and processing capabilities.  I use a Sony DSC-WX80 which I have had for years.

These are the questions that will immediately come to your mind:

Q: How do you manipulate the camera when you're wearing those thick beekeeping gloves?

A: I don't use gloves like that.  I use extra-large, extra-long, blue nitrile gloves like they use in hospitals.  I love the dexterity they provide and the bees can't quite get their stingers poked through them... usually.  Haha!

Q: Doesn't the camera get propolis and nectar and honey on it?

A: Of course.  But, a wet wipe like they sell at Wal*Mart, for example, easily removes it.

 

So, why do I think a camera like this is so valuable?  Because:

1) I don't care who you are, it is often really difficult to see eggs and very young larvae in the field and through a veil.  As you know, just seeing the queen doesn't prove that she's productive.

2) I am a low-invasive, low-interventive, bee-centered beekeeper, and a camera like this actually helps me to disrupt the colony as little as possible by letting me evaluate what's in the hive afterwards.

For example, I visited a hive today that didn't seem as active and vigorous as I would have liked to have seen from just viewing the activity at the hive entrance.  Were they queen-less?  If they had a queen, had she failed as an egg layer?

I opened the hive, and in this particular case, I spotted the queen right away.  I took several quick photos of her, and the area of the frame immediately surrounding her.  Later, back at my computer, I was able to study the photos and easily saw that there were young larvae in the cells surrounding her:

As a bonus, I could see a newly emerged worker just down and to the right of her abdomen:


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