Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Natural Cell Size & Machine Vision

I'm in the process of measuring natural cell size using a simplified version of machine vision OpenCV software - it's called SimpleCV.    Still, the SimpleCV learning curve is steep and I would not recommend SimpleCV to the non-programmer - it's not simple to create a robust workflow to measure natural cell size.    Don't attempt this programming journey without the book - Practical Computer Vision with SimpleCV -The Simple Way to Make Technology See.
Michael Bush has written on the subject of natural cell size and focused on measuring brood comb. I'm going to start my measurements with cells used for honey storage. Honey comb is not darkened. So, I'm able to light the cells from either the camera side or from behind the cells - I've decided to start with placing my light source behind the cells.  This honey comb was drawn without foundation. I'm using Medium Foundationless Frames from Kelly Beekeeping - select frame style F.

Here are a few photos of my setup and SimpleCV results so far.  

Sunday, August 14, 2016

third hand tool - wood shims

This year, I asked for help in the beeyard - a neighborhood beekeeper (aka He who must not be taken seriously) helped brush bees off capped honey frames and then place those frames into a covered storage tote.   Later the same day, friends Lauren and Todd helped in the kitchen, cut-out comb, then crush and strain the honey crop.   These are wonderful examples of an extra pair of hands.

Now imagine working solo in the beeyard - pry a gap beneath the top box with a standard hive tool and insert wood shims as a third hand tool.  Move to the opposite side of the box and repeat the process.   Now it's easier to lift the top box without fighting sticky propolis re-gluing the gap.  As wood shims are hard to recover against a leaf litter background - I add a piece of blue tape to the thick end of shim.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

clean mold with non-toxic hydrogen peroxide

After hanging in a tree through winter, my 8 frame swarm trap required a serious cleanup.

I used the curved end of a Standard Hive Tool to scrape off most of the black mold. This was followed by spraying 3% concentration hydrogen peroxide, waiting 10 minutes, then wiping off the mold with a cotton rag. Shown is the migratory cover after cleanup, ACE hardware spray bottle and CVS hydrogen peroxide. I found the cleanup steps on THE MAIDS BLOG.

I wore rubber kitchen gloves and safety glasses for the hydrogen peroxide portion of the cleanup. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

summer forage - invasive porcelain-berry

This week in Atlanta, I found honey bees on an invasive plant, porcelain-berry climbing vine.   A vigorous and attractive landscape plant from Asia, but it out competes native plants for sunlight and nutrients.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

small honey label

I'm using a new source for custom printed honey labels.   Vistaprint has a honey bee graphics as a design, but I decided to upload my own image/design.     To form a circular image, I used Picasa.  Here's a link to advice from a Picasa user  "Go to the last editing tab and then to "Borders"..  Slide "Corner Radius" to the right (all the way) and make the outer colour white or what ever colour you want."

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

clean wax with slow cooker

I retired my solar wax melter and use a slow cooker exclusively to clean wax.  For safety, I operate the slow cooker outdoors and place concrete pavers beneath the hot appliance and wood table top. After crush and strain honey extraction, wax from thirteen frames are rinsed in warm water and cleaned in two slow cooker batches.   I added half the wax and two cups of water to the large oval slow cooker. Shown is cotton fabric and blue tape which suspend the wax above the water bath.  After two to three hours on the high setting, I turn off the slow cooker and leave all components (lid, cotton fabric and wax impurities) undisturbed until the slow cooker has completely cooled.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

bottle without white foam - pail perch

I was able to eke out a few more bottles of honey without white foam by tilting the pail. This homemade pail perch requires an extra pail lid, 2x4 scraps, fender washers and wood screws. For stability, a string connects the pail handle and pail perch.  To counterweight the tilted pail, I borrowed a heavy canned good from the pantry.

Before tilting the pail, I left a generous amount of time for bubbles to rise then I bottled honey to a point just above the honey gate.  After tilting the pail, I let the bubbles rise again before bottling the remaining honey.