Metropolis of Propolis

Live, Real-Time Photos and Status Updates!

Rains County, Texas
As of Wednesday, August 10, 2022 at 20:59 UTC
(This page will auto-refresh every 5 minutes to show the latest webcam pictures)
(propolis: noun, ˈprä-pə-ləs, : a brownish resinous material of waxy consistency collected by bees from the buds of trees and used as a cement in repairing and maintaining the hive. In a tincture with alcohol, it has serious medicinal uses)

Mission

Produce honey and propolis for sale, foraged by 6 or 7 hives of bees from
  • Pear trees (Bartlett & Bradford)
  • Cherry trees (Lapins)
  • Fig trees (Celeste)
  • Raspberry bushes (Baba Red)
  • Yellow jasmine
  • Chinese Tallow
  • Crabapple tree
  • Organic clover field (Crimson & Yellow Sweet Clover)
  • Indian Blanket & Purple Coneflower
  • Holly bushes
  • Elm trees
  • whatever else is growing wild around here (black-eyed susans, etc.)
  • 2021 Was a BAD Year for the Hives

    The super deep freeze of Feb 16, 2021 weakened the hives. Over the next few months, I began noticing swarming behaviors and more small hive beetles (SHB). I failed to feed the bees sufficiently, relying on their ability to forage for nectar on their own, and that was a mistake. I did harvest some honey, but something was wrong, and I didn't act quickly enough Eventually the hives were all overtaken by SHB and even wax months. All the bees absconded by the end of the year.

    My Plan for 2022 (look!)

  • Sell all wooden hive components
  • Acquire 6 new Apimaye high tech 7-frame Deep hives
  • Use all new Pierco triple waxed deep frames
  • Rotate 1 Pierco drone frame every 28 days in each hive to suppress varoa mites
  • Use Beetle Blaster SHB oil trays in each hive
  • Soak the ground in Permethrin SFR to kill SHB larvae
  • Monitor each hive in real-time for Temperature and Weight using BroodMinder WiFi or Cell-connected devices
  • Install 6 new packages of Weaver Buckfast bees picked up on April 2, 2022 in Navasota TX

    Watch for changes to the bee yard as I clean it up, mow the grass, soak the ground with pest control stuff, and hook everything up in time for the 6 new packages of bees I will be picking up April 2, 2022

  • Ambient Weather (Real-Time!)

    Current Conditions on Wednesday, August 10, 2022 at 20:59 UTC measured at my weather station (see "Technology" section below) located 100 ft away:
    83.5F. Winds from 234 deg at 0 mph. Humidity 77%

    Automated analysis of effect on Bees:
    The temperature right now is perfect for the bees to be out flying during the daylight hours.

    Complete Data AmbientWeather.net: Metropolis of Propolis II
    Weather Underground: My station: KTXEmory17

    Real-time Hive Temps/Weights

    Global Map of all Beehives
    [Hive 1] [Hive 2] [Hive 3]
    [Hive 4] [Hive 5] [Hive 6]

    Dave's Beekeeping Videos

    Episodes 1-22 are the original hive equipment at my Paris, TX ranch location. Starting with Episode 23, we cover the new Metropolis of Proplis II with its high-tech hives and new bees at the Emory, TX site!




    AmbientWeather.net
    WeatherUnderground Data

    Latest BeeCam Shot

    Should automatically update - Check date/time upper left corner of photo
    Out-of-date photos usually mean lack of sunshine shut down the solar panel, and battery drained after 2 days of powering the camera and WiFi (see "Technology" below)

    Latest work done:
    • Sunday, May 15, 2022 - Added supers to 4 hives ready for them. Drone frames universally disappointing, full of nectar and weird wax structures, some drone brood
    • Wednesday, May 11, 2022 - Most drone frames have wax structures built up off the frame and most of those are filled with nectar, few drone brood. In the Hive Weights (links at left) you can see 4lbs jump when I added syrup.
    • Sunday, April 17, 2022 - Full hive inspection yesterday. Good brood, nectar and pollen accumulation. Only the drone frames are almost completely untouched, so I may need to spray them with syrup again.

    Latest Bee Field Shot

    Temporarily off-line

    We didn't plant any bee attracting flowers this year, so this is a stale photo from June 2022

    Should automatically update - Check date/time at bottom right of photo
    (Most impressive shots here are in March/April (left to right) Bartlett Pear, Crabapple, Chinese Tallow and April/May (Crimson Clover)

    What you are seeing:

    • Wednesday, May 11, 2022 - Crimson clover all over the county is very sparse and small. Not a lot to forage on.
    • Friday, April 22, 2022 - Some small blossoms of crimson clover are popping up
    • Sunday, April 10, 2022 - In the distance just right of center you can see the Crabapple in bloom. To the right of it the purple blooms of the Wisteria

    Technology

    OK, I admit I'm a total geek.
    BeeCam: (updated 23Apr2020) The BeeCam is powered by a 150W solar panel feeding a 12V 22AH sealed battery through a MorningStar ProStar-30 solar controller to allow it to run 24x7 without a really long extension cord. (The Math: 22AH battery supplying 500mA camera = 44 hours capacity. Solar panel 150W / 12V = 12.5A x 4 hours of sunlight = 50AH to feed into the 22AH battery. Result = battery is fully charged within less than 1 hour. These are all gross generalizations. You should see my spreadsheet!)
    The camera transmits live video via WiFi 158 feet to the 9th node of an Eero mesh network that covers the property. If the BeeCam picture is old, it's because it's entirely at the mercy of the solar panel and battery capacity, and may also be struggling to transmit to the WiFi network, as it is live streaming video 24x7, whereas I only capture a snapshot once every 5 minutes for this page.
    Weather Station: The Ambient Weather Station transmits via the 900MHz band 54 feet directly to a controller inside the Pump House, which is on the eero WiFi network, so it can upload its weather data about once every 2 minutes to AmbientWeather.net and WeatherUnderground. I got the inspiration for this from my friend Coby Cathey.
    Bee Field Cam: The BeeFieldCam is mounted on the Pump House (which pumps water from the irrigation pond to the sprinkler system and garden faucets) and takes streaming video and also snapshots of what we call the "organic clover field", a 7,000 sq ft field that has been used in the past as a garden and has never had any chemicals applied to it. Every year, I till up all the plant matter, and having planted clover (which fixes nitrogen in the ground), yields several types of clover every year in April, followed by other wildflowers.
    Software: I wrote all the code to collect the images and weather data, using APIs from AmbientWeather.net and WeatherUnderground.com set up all the cameras with FTP, collection, sorting, and filtering programs on industrial-grade servers at Cloud.IBM.com in ColdFusion with a MS SQL Server database I also use at www.eQSL.cc. The experience building the solar powered camera system came from 3 years of building the most technologically advanced hunting blind in North America at my ranch outside of Paris, TX. Most people have no clue how difficult and expensive it is to build even a small solar powered system to power a single camera 24x7 with a couple days of overcast reserve. Powering an entire house these days would require tens of thousands of dollars of investment. Beehive Temp/Weight Monitoring: I'll write more about this later, but meanwhile, visit BroodMinder.com and BeeCounted.org and watch Episode 24 of the videos above.

    Bee Plant / Honey Plant Information for Beekeepers

    This is my log of plant blooming and end dates as observed here in Rains County, Texas.
    (You can correlate these dates with temperature, rain, and sunlight graphs as far back as 3/25/2020 on my Weather History graphs at the bottom of the WeatherUnderground page.

    • 2022 Jun 05 - Mimosa tree (Albizia julibrissin) has been blooming for several days. Very fragrant!
    • 2022 May 13 - Black-eyed Susans showing up on the roadsides around here
    • 2022 May 11 - Crimson clover all over the county is sparse and very small. Not much of anything to forage on.
    • 2022 Apr 20 - Some crimson clover coming up with small blossoms
    • 2022 Apr 10 - Crabapple bloomed today. Bees on it!
    • 2022 Apr 07 - Pear trees have lost most of their blossoms. Wisteria in full bloom attracting carpenter bees mostly
    • 2022 Apr 06 - Holly bush has flowers and bees on them. Pear trees covered on bees.
    • 2022 Apr 04 - Holly bush has flowers and bees on them. Pear trees covered on bees.
    • 2022 Mar 28 - Redbud tree is giving out and not many bees still trying the drying blossoms
    • 2022 Mar 27 - Bradford and Bartlett pear tree blossoms just starting to open up. No bees on them yet, but it won't be long.
    • 2022 Mar 15 - Redbud tree in bloom, covered in bees!
    • 2022 Feb 12 - Bartlett pear trees have some new 6 inch green branches with tiny buds at the ends. Figs also have tiny buds forming.
    • 2021 Apr 14 - Crimson clover blooming, but only about 1/4 as many blooms as previous years, due to Feb 16 deep freeze
    • 2021 Mar 30 - Dogwood started blooming
    • 2021 Mar 28 - Pear trees have lost all their white flowers
    • 2021 Mar 27 - Wisteria started blooming - Carpenter bees going to town on it
    • 2021 Mar 25 - Crabapple started blooming
    • 2021 Mar 13 - Bradford Pear and Bartlett Pear triees popped this morning! Bees all over them!
    • 2021 Mar 05 - One as yet unidentified tree has tiny fuzzy buds that have attracted large numbers of feral bees and my bees too. I'll try to identify it and update this record.
    • 2020 Jul 09 - Indian Blanket still hanging on tenuously, and bees still foraging on it. Weeds trying to crowd it out.
    • 2020 Jun 12 - Albizia Julibrissin or Mimosa Silk Tree flowered and smells spectacular! Only in bloom a few days but the bees loved it!
    • 2020 May 06 - Crimson clover almost completely gone; Indian blanket in bloom 2 months earlier than last year
    • 2020 Apr 03 - Crimson clover tips starting to bloom (same date as 2019)
    • 2020 Apr 03 - Wisteria and Crabapple almost gone
    • 2020 Mar 25 - Crabapple and Dogwood trees in bloom
    • 2020 Mar 18 - Bartlett pear trees mostly done blooming
    • 2020 Mar 18 - Planted 3 Baba Red raspberry and 1 White Jasmine
    • 2020 Mar 12 - Planted Celeste fig tree
    • 2020 Mar 08 - Planted 2 Lapins cherry trees
    • 2020 Mar 01 - Rosemary beginning to blossom
    • 2020 Feb 28 - Bartlett and Bradford pear and Redbud beginning to blossom (1 week earlier than 2019)
    • 2019 Aug 25 - Pears still ripening on branches
    • 2019 Aug 04 - Crabapple dropping green fruit
    • 2019 Jul 15 - Indian Blanket in bloom
    • 2019 May 24 - Peaches and pears are about 1/2 their final size
    • 2019 May 11 - Wildflowers are in bloom all around the area
    • 2019 Apr 29 - Mowed the dry crimson clover; Disced the field; Planted Indian Blanket and Purple Coneflower
    • 2019 Apr 28 - Crimson clover almost gone
    • 2019 Apr 21 - Bees are thick on the crimson clover
    • 2019 Apr 03 - Crimson clover tips starting to bloom
    • 2019 Mar 22 - Pear trees losing their blossoms
    • 2019 Mar 04 - Pear trees start to blossom
    * UTC time is Coordinated Universal Time, aka Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), or Zulu time (Z). Our servers are set to UTC so they do not have to change every Daylight Saving Time (DST) switchover. During Standard Time, our local time shown on the camera photos is Central Standard Time, which is 6 hours behind UTC, and during Daylight Saving Time, we are on CDT, which is 5 hours behind UTC.

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