Infrared videos from the breeding area of honeybees

Königin bei der Eiablage

Since 4 years I do infrared shots in beehives and optimize the quality constantly. I work with different lighting sets and a small special camera with changeable lenses. The infrared lighting cannot be seen by the bees, infrared light with a wavelength greater than 780nm is invisible to them. By constructive measures the lens of … Read more Infrared videos from the breeding area of honeybees

Torben Schiffer & the Schiffer-Tree


The “Schiffer-Tree” hive by Torben Schiffer as the initial signal for a “revolution in beekeeping” Torben Schiffer presents on his website and in german TV (NDR broadcast „meinNachmittag – Der Bienenforscher aus Hamburg“ from 15.4.2019) the bee hive „Schiffer-Tree“ as the first species-appropriate bee hive at all. It is to protect the honey bees against … Read more Torben Schiffer & the Schiffer-Tree

Ventilation of the beehive by honey bees

Fan at the edge of the honeycombs

Do honeybees form ventilation lines for effective cooling, dehumidification or gas exchange? In a natural beehive in a tree cavity there are no significant natural air changes. Ventilation with the aim of gas exchange, cooling or dehumidification must be actively performed by the bees. It is known that honey bees start fanning when air temperature, … Read more Ventilation of the beehive by honey bees

Torben Schiffer’s theory on the propolis of bees

No Goretex effect

According to Torben Schiffer bees put holes in the propolis layer on purpose to achieve the effect of functional clothing

Torben Schiffer presents in the name of HOBOS electron microscopic images of holes in the propolis layer online among a theory of their formation and effect. It is stated that bees create these holes on purpose to ensure the removal of moisture by water vapor diffusion. Supposedly, they achieve an effect such as that of functional clothing (like Gore-Tex) by this means that allows water vapor diffusion but prevents the permeability to water in its liquid form. Several questions arise from the article.

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Effect of high humidity in the beehive on the water content of honey

test specimens

A balance is established between the water content of the honey and the surrounding air humidity. The balancing moisture content of honey at a relative humidity of 55% is about 17.5%. At a relative humidity of 80%, honey has a water content of over 30% (source: The hygroscopic properties of different dilutions of Honey, Doull & Mew 1977).

The wax capping of the honey cells slows down the speed of these water transports, but does not prevent diffusion. The wax layer is so thin that the resistance of this cap to water vapour diffusion is just as high as that of a 3.3 cm thick layer of air. The experimental setup for determining the diffusion density is explained below.

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Effect of outer thermal insulation on moisture in the beehive


The evolution of honeybees has taken place over many millions of years in tree hollows with a respectable thermal insulation of the surrounding wood. It is to be expected that they have adjusted perfectly to this climate inside the tree cavities, which is much influenced by the thermal insulation. Only in modern beekeeping did they have to forgo the advantages of such thermal insulation.

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Bee hive Gruibert


The instructions for a new hive are now available under hive building: The Gruibert hive. The idea was born together with Gabi and Norbert Dorn. The goal was a hive with the following characteristics:

  • Thermal insulation comparable to tree cavities inhabited by bees
  • Entrance tunnel and volume of the brood chamber comparable to tree cavities inhabited by bees
  • Operation with top beams
  • Geometry based on tree cavities inhabited by bees higher than wide
  • Inserting of a common frame size possible
  • Access to the brood chamber from above and below possible
  • Hanging in the tree
  • Varroa screen board
  • Hive can be reconstructed with simple means and without special previous knowledge

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Tom´s Tree

Toms Tree

In the fall of 2017, I made Thomas Seeley an offer he couldn’t possibly refuse. I offered him 10 of my just finished Beeloggers to use in the Arnot Forest in the natural tree cavities he knows. I wrote him an e-mail with all the information about the data loggers and offered to climb into the trees with him. Thomas Seeley answered quickly and firmly: Unfortunately no time.

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Rodeo bee drops Varroa mite!

Rodeo Biene

A bee tries to free itself from a Varroa mite for minutes, with powerful and very fast shaking movements. Presumably she cannot distinguish the mite from disturbing pollen residues at all, I have often been able to observe this shaking movements. Often bypassing bees then take these shaking movements to help the troubled bee, just as here at the end of the video (social or mutual grooming). In this case, however, the mite has already been thrown off. In a shaking phase with a very high frequency it obviously can no longer hold. Maybe she’ll fall to the ground and be received by book scorpions 🙂

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