Since I began beekeeping, I have always taken a camera to the hive with me. Over time, I've been through several cameras because I drop them while I am in the hive or get honey or propolis on them in odd places. But most of us have a very expensive camera in our individual pockets - our cell phone. So today, everyone has the option of using a camera in their hive inspections.
I am not a great photographer by any means. However, the camera has been a great tool for me in my beekeeping. Taking photos and then returning to the computer and really looking at them can help in so many ways.
Here are the main points I make in my new talk:
1. The camera can help you learn about what you are seeing in your hive. You can get really acquainted with the differences in drones, workers and queens.
2. You can use the camera to document a hive inspection - take a photo of the hive front as you start the inspection and take whatever is interesting as you inspect the hive. Photograph changes you make. At the end of the inspection, take another photo of the front of the hive.
3. The camera will help you to identify problems in the hive.
Once in 2010, I put a medium frame of brood and eggs into a deep box to help a queenless hive make a new queen. The queenless hive was a teaching hive in a public garden and my hives at home were all in medium boxes. Here is what happened!
4. Photos from your camera can be used to ask for help. When I have found something that I didn't understand in my hive, I can post those photos on forum sites to ask for help.
I didn't know what a drone-laying queen would do in a hive and posted these photos on Beemaster to find out what was wrong:
Another time I found a queen whose wings had been chewed and her paint mark gnawed almost off, so I posted this photo to find out what to do to help with the situation.
5. The camera allows a lot of potential for sharing. I use it on this blog all the time to share my photos with you. I make videos with my camera to use as an educational tool. For example, here's what a real robbing situation looks like.
6. Finally, the camera is a tool for the art part of beekeeping - which as we all know is both an art and a science. So I take photos of bees on flowers and on beautiful wax, etc. to enjoy the art of it all!
How do you use your camera in the hive? Share in the comments, if you are willing.
So get out your camera/phone and take it to your hive. Enjoy the many opportunities that having a camera with you can add to your beekeeping experience.