Thermal analysis of Bees

Wednesday, July 22, 2015


At our head office in Alton, Hampshire one of our Areas Managers informed us that the ground was moving. Assuming that he hadn’t just spent the afternoon down the local, we went outside to have a look only to find that we had, what can only be described as a carpet of bees!  This was an amazing sight yet at the same time was making a few members of the team very uneasy.


Where is the nest entrance?

Due to the sheer number of bees it was imperative that we gained an idea of where the nest was located and more importantly how BIG it was!Not knowing if this would work I picked up one of our thermal cameras, the testo 885. I had been playing around with the camera earlier on in the morning trying to gain some images for a brochure that I was designing.

What we discovered even surprised the sales team; the camera had picked up the heat signatures of the tunnels and the bees themselves:

Tunnel Engineering

As you can see it appeared that we had quite a large infestation. There has been a lot in the news over the last few years about bees. Numbers are declining worldwide due to a parasite harbouring a virus which is affecting and destroying the insect population. Because of this I decided to take some advice and got in contact with the Bumblebee Conservation Trust.  Having taken a few additional photographs of the bees, I emailed all the images to ask about advice in terms of moving the bees and of course potential swarm hazards!

It was confirmed that the insects were called Miner Bees; are highly unlikely to sting and are known as a solitary species. Using the thermal images as a reference point I was informed that instead of one hive being governed by one queen, individual female bees raise a few offspring but live within close proximity of one another.

Who knew that a highly technical piece of thermography equipment, designed to give the most accurate analytics using SuperResolution® technology of HVAC components could also provide detailed imagery and analysis on Mother Nature?


For more information on thermal imaging please visit our the thermal imaging section of the website:

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