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Thread: Stethoscopes?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Round Top, New York - Northern Catskill Mtns.


    Does anyone else out there use one in their beekeeping operation?

    I use one of my wife’s old stethoscopes to listen to my hives and their clusters.
    I find that by listening to the cluster, I can determine a lot of information on the cluster and it’s condition.
    Whether they are alive or not.
    I can listen to the cluster and determine where it is located in the hive.
    Whether they have moved up or are they still located low in the hive.
    This gives me a heads up on their food stores situation.
    The level of sound gives me an idea on cluster size.
    The level of sound that they generate and it’s change with a tap on the box, let’s me know if they are temperature stressed or not.

  2. #2


    I use one and like it for the same reasons. Now I can tell my wife I told you someone else was doing this.

  3. #3
    Jason G in Tennessee Guest


    Yes, but I have a battery powered one that is used for pregnant women to listen to their baby while it is still inside. It has a volume and headphones. It is pretty neat!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    The Scenic Flint Hills , KS
    I use mine to find the location of the colony in bee trees before I cut them. And when I am trying to find them in walls and cielings before doing a cutout.

  5. #5


    I pay the bills working as a nurse. I find a hive generally quiet enough to not learn much unless I knock on the side to stir them up. But by then I can hear them on the outside. I do not learn any kind of data using my scope...but I bet more could be learned with one of those fancy doodads with amplified sound.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Lenexa, Kansas


    I am ALSO a nurse, and I also cannot tell anything with my stethescope. I can hear them, but I can hear them WITHOUT the scope, also!

    Still, if it works for you, go for it!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Round Top, New York - Northern Catskill Mtns.


    I use the scope mostly in winter, when the bees are clustered. I find the scope is a bit easier on my ear as opposed to putting my ear to a hive at -30F.

  8. #8
    jfischer Guest


    > I find the scope is a bit easier on my ear
    > as opposed to putting my ear to a hive at
    > -30F.

    Hear hear!

    Another thing you want to avoid is touching
    your tongue to a metal-clad outer cover.

    Seriously, listening to the bees is lots
    of fun. For example, queen piping is
    something that few beekeepers ever hear,
    but I've messed around with virgins,
    queen cells, and studio-quality mics
    enough to state with very high certainty
    that queen piping is almost a perfect
    "song" of G-sharps and A-naturals, close
    enough that you could tune your piano with
    an unmated queen. Just a few hertz off.

    While this has no practical value, it is
    very rare to find a sound in nature that
    just happens to match up with the western
    "musical scale".

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Tiller, Oregon USA


    I use the scope all the time for listening when major things are going on with the hive. It's amazing how the "conversation" changes under different conditions and activities in the hive.
    Can't wait for the day they have software to translate bee language so I can hear what the girls are complaining about.

    "Did you see that idiot squash Myrtle during the hive check! I should have gone ahead and stung him!"
    "Now, now, Annabee, don't get too excited. He does care about us you know and besides, Myrtle was just an old gossip"

    the ~ox-{ at
    If this message is edited it is because I have to correct my spelling again. 0_0


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