December 27, 2014 ahydle

Beehive Camera – Pt 2

Hive BuildSo what do you do when your wife asks you to start a beehive? You use it as an excuse to build a custom beehive/camera and release a copy of the plans of course (ADD Note: video/plans below)!

Towards the end of summer in 2013 my wife had started to develop an interest in keeping bees after we helped rescue a hive from our water meter. Before this rescue my experience was practically zilch and while the rescue was quite amazing I still was apprehensive about us having our own hive. It took a bit of convincing but after a while I signed on to build my wife a hive as long as I could build a custom camera into the hive to film the bees.

I started the project by researching and learning about the types of hives available, eventually settling on a top-bar because I liked the aesthetic and it would allow me to move the camera down the length of the hive. At first I didn’t know too much about top-bar hives. I just found some rough dimensions and a few pictures of completed hives which I used as a framework to begin building and I continued to read and research as the build was under way.

Top-Bar Beehive by Andrew Hydle and 9 ProductionsIt wasn’t until I was about 80% of the way through the build that I found Les Crowder’s book Top-bar Beekeeping which became my bible. Because of his book I decided to rebuild the hive, changing dimensions and angles in order to increase the hives capacity and to conform to the natural angles of the honeycomb cells. I also decided to create the hive as organically as possible making my own finish for the final hive.

After completing the build I moved on to putting together the camera. I wanted a reasonably inexpensive but quality solution and eventually settled on a GoPro Hero 3 White, Cam-Do Time Lapse Controller, BlurFix3 filter adapter, Agfa magnification filters, external batteries and some external LED light strips. I programmed the Cam-do controller to only turn on when it was light outside so I wouldn’t disturb the bees too much. The camera was set to take about four to five photos a day.

It has now been around eight months with the bees. I am no longer apprehensive about beekeeping after I quickly learned how magical and misunderstood they really are. We now have two beehives in the back yard and while the project started for my wife, I am now the one who takes care of the bees. I have even given a lecture on beekeeping/bees!

While we haven’t tasted our honey yet, we look forward to our first harvest next year and in the mean time I have been working on perfecting my recipe for mead (which is becoming quite good). I hope you enjoy the video and if you have any questions feel free to email or leave a comment. I would love to hear from you!

It is truly amazing how much these little creatures have changed my thinking and have become such a major part of our lives.

To download a copy of the plans please click here.

To learn more or see a 360 view of the hive click here.

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Comments (2)

  1. I just wanted to thank you for making the great video. I was searching for photos of bees in Santa Barbara and found your site. How are your bees doing in the drought?

    • ahydle

      Hi Nick,

      Sorry for the late reply but have been keeping way to busy with a new house. We ended up selling our bees to a local bee store in North Hills and moved to Colorado. It was hard giving them up but the good news is we have a much larger property in Colorado now so I am hoping to get started again this year.


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