Hi Viz Gaffer tape & other brainwaves

Last night we had 3 bees with us - two under the cloche and one in the entrance of the buried nest box. The one in the buried box was not captive, so was free to go at any time. Looks like she probably did - as expected; certainly there was no activity on the camera inside the box itself and BCW did not report seeing anything. 

The day started very foggily and during the morning was only about 6C, so was a bit cold for any bumblebee activity (at 5C or below they tend to go into a 'frozen state' where they can't operate. And bear in mind they need to vibrate themselves to 30C to be able to fly!

So, the cloche had a lot of condensation on it, which made it difficult for BCW to see what was going on underneath, if anything. Later in the day it cleared a little and she saw the bufftailed queen on the side of the brick near the box (it is covering an ant trap). No sign of our little Early Bee though. Couldn't blame her if she wanted to just bed down and hide all day!

As I wasn't home today, I can also confirm that camera access via the iPAD is working very well. It's fabulous on the larger screen compared to the iPhone. I am using EagleEyeHD (which is designed for my DVR). I am on the THREE network and can get 3G signal at work - which delivers an excellent picture. Oddly the app doesn't seem to provide sound, even though the iPhone app supports sound no problem - which seems a bit odd. But the picture is good. Certainly good enough to know that there has been no obvious activity in any of the boxes yet!

Creating a colour splash - attracting attention

I also had the idea today of sticking some of my hi-vis gaffer tape on the end of canes in the garden today to attract the attention of passing bumbles. Some sources cite a bright yellow colour around the nest as a way to attract attention (and help memory) and it's something we actually did instintively last year around our Beepol nest. And on sunday we saw a big fat throaty queen fly round the garden and dinstictly check out a small tab of the bright yellow tape I had stuck on my CCTV cable (which was strung across some fence posts). Even if it only encourages a passing queen to dip down into our garden and have a quick mooch, it's worth a go, and increases the chance of her discovering the nest boxes. 

Location Tracking

I also had another bit of a brainwave yesterday to help with tracking and recording the location of where we find our queens. We know the general area from last year, but not the identical spot and density of population. This would be good to capture.

I realised that simple by taking a picture of the location, my iPhone would capture the GPS location and we could plot it later. In fact, most exciting is the new Adobe Lightroom 4 mapping feature (I've still yet to upgrade) which will allow me to produce maps of all the locations. Can't wait to try that out.  It's great to be putting all our tech to good use.