Metropolis of Propolis

Live, Real-Time Photos and Status Updates!

Rains County, Texas
As of Monday, November 30, 2020 at 07:48 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 7 hives of bees from
  • Pear trees (Bartlett & Bradford)
  • Cherry trees (Lapins)
  • Fig trees (Celeste)
  • Raspberry bushes (Baba Red)
  • White jasmine
  • 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.)
  • Ambient Weather (Real-Time!)

    Current Conditions at 07:48 UTC measured at my weather station (see "Technology" section below) located 100 ft away:
    39.7F. Winds from 8 deg at 4.5 to 5.8 mph. Humidity 62%

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

    Complete Data Weather Underground: My station: KTXEmory17

    Dave's Beekeeping Videos




    Weather Underground PWS KTXEMORY17

    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    Out-of-date photos usually mean lack of sunshine shut down the solar panel, and battery drained after 2 days of powering the camera and WiFi (see "Technology" below)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:
    • Friday, July 10, 2020 - Harvested honey from hives 4-7; Removed top (empty) medium super from hive 6 and put it under the bottom deep as a new brood box. Eventually I will move all the deeps up and off
    • Monday, July 6, 2020 - Harvested honey from hives 1, 2, and 3, removing the top supers from each
    • Wednesday, May 6, 2020 - Added honey supers to hives 3, 6, and 7

    Latest Bee Field Shot

    Should automatically update - Check date/time at bottom right of photo
    (Most impressive shots here are in early March (Crabapple, Bradford Pear, Cherry trees) and April (Crimson Clover)

    What you are seeing:
    • Thursday, July 9, 2020 - Indian Blanket still hanging on tenuously, and bees still foraging on it. Weeds trying to crowd it out.
    • Wednesday, May 6, 2020 - Crimson clover almost completely gone; Indian blanket in bloom 2 months earlier than last year
    • Friday, April 3, 2020 - Crimson clover tips starting to bloom (same date as 2019)

    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 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.

    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.

    • 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.