Metropolis of Propolis
Live, Real-Time Photos and Status Updates!
Rains County, Texas
As of Thursday, June 17, 2021 at 20:35 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)
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
Organic clover field (Crimson & Yellow Sweet Clover)
Indian Blanket & Purple Coneflower
whatever else is growing wild around here (black-eyed susans, etc.)
Current Conditions on Thursday, June 17, 2021 at 20:34 UTC measured at my weather station (see "Technology" section below) located 100 ft away:
Winds from 234 deg at 0.9 to 1.1 mph.
Automated analysis of effect on Bees:
The temperature right now is
for the bees to be out flying during the daylight hours.
In fact, it is so hot, the bees may often be found outside on the front of the hive to cool off, even after dark.
Weather Underground: My station: KTXEmory17
Dave's Beekeeping Videos
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Out-of-date photos usually mean lack of sunshine shut down the solar panel, and battery drained after 2 days of powering the camera and WiFi (see "Technology" below)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:
- Tuesday, February 16, 2021 - Temperature drops to -5F
- Wednesday, February 10, 2021 - Temperatures dip below 32F for the next 10 days
- Friday, January 1, 2021 - Apparently hive 1 has died out. I've got to remove the hive and clean it out
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:
- Wednesday, April 14, 2021 - Crimson clover blooming, but only about 1/4 as many blooms as previous years, due to Feb 16 deep freeze
- Sunday, March 28, 2021 - Pear trees have lost all their white flowers
- Thursday, March 25, 2021 - Crabapple started blooming
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.
- 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