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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Denver, Colorado, U.S.A.
    Posts
    2,136

    Default Re: stethoscope type

    I bought a nice dual head stethoscope for listening to hives to check for deadouts mid-winter. I never had much luck hearing the bees in the hive, though. I found I had to give the hive a pretty hard knock to get the bees to buzz enough to barely hear it with the stethoscope, and then it was only briefly that I could hear them. The method didn't have nearly the sensitivity for detecting live bees that I was hoping for. I decided that the stethoscope method wasn't all that effective, and never used it again.

    A thermometer inserted through the top entrance is a much better method.
    --shinbone
    (6th year, 13 hives, Zone 5b, 5500')

  2. #22
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    allen,indiana,usa
    Posts
    378

    Default Re: stethoscope type

    Thanks shinbone, I bought one, tried and couldn't here them until I tapped on the hive, I can hear them better putting my ear to the side of box, have to agree with you, never use it again.

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    creek county oklahoma
    Posts
    138

    Default Re: stethoscope type

    I couldn't figure out why the cheap ones would work on a person, but not so well on a beehive. The cheap one I was using had a hard plastic rim on the diaphragm side. That rim raised the diaphragm just enough so that the diaphragm itself was not in contact the wood. On a person, the skin has a little give to it, so it makes contact. Maybe that's why they seem to work for some beekeepers but not for others. Just enough difference in the rim I guess.

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Millington, Michigan
    Posts
    43

    Default Re: stethoscope type

    If using the probes, wouldn't you need one in every box?? As the bees move up
    wouldn't the temps change?? I know some winter only in one box, but, those using mediums in the northern states use up to five.This is my first year so just wondering,I have 2 hives 5 mediums deep would be a lot of probes.

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    7,756

    Default Re: stethoscope type

    Quote Originally Posted by pgayle View Post
    I couldn't figure out why the cheap ones would work on a person, but not so well on a beehive. The cheap one I was using had a hard plastic rim on the diaphragm side. That rim raised the diaphragm just enough so that the diaphragm itself was not in contact the wood. On a person, the skin has a little give to it, so it makes contact. Maybe that's why they seem to work for some beekeepers but not for others. Just enough difference in the rim I guess.
    i think you be on to something there. i've been wondering why some have not been able to hear cluster roar (even without knocking) when it is so easy to hear for me.

    my stethoscope doesn't have a 'non-chill' plastic or rubber ring around the diaphragm, and unless the plastic 'drum head' of the diaphragm is hard against the box you can't hear anything. perhaps prying out the ring would make it work.

    the other thing is that mine has both the bell and the diaphragm heads and they rotate. when one of the heads is in use the other is muted and vice versa, so you have to make sure the head is rotated properly.

    lastly, a lot of wind noise will mask the cluster roar so i avoid trying to listen unless there is just light wind or no wind blowing. for some reason the roar carries better to the sides of the boxes as compared to the front or back. it will be the loudest on the side of the box that contains the cluster, and louder on one side or the other if the cluster is not in the center.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    New Haven, CT
    Posts
    259

    Default Re: stethoscope type

    Once the bees die, the internal temperature will go down rapidly and will in veryshort order match the external temperature. The bees heat the inside of the hive incidentally while keeping the cluster warm. There's a contemporaneous thread on using an IR camera to photograph hives in winter that shows live hives from the heat they're generating.
    http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...hlight=present

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    7,756

    Default Re: stethoscope type

    yeah, those ir images are really neat.

    looks like the use of a stethoscope will have to go down as one of those beekeeping things that works for some/doesn't work for others, some rather do it this way/others rather do it that way...

    advantages of the stethoscope as i see them are: the cost is much less than $250; from what i can gather the best ir images are obtained at night which would be inconvenient for me as well as the landowners at my two out yards; and time as it literally takes a couple of seconds to sample a hive and just a minute or two for a whole yard.

    the advantage of ir is that one can better visualize the size of the cluster and its location within the hive. with our mild winters and knowing my hive weights this information would be nice but not really useful.

    some in the far north have indicated that they don't really have a need to know about their dead outs until they start working their hives in the spring and i can see how this makes sense for them.

    the reason i want to know is because due to the mild breaks in weather we get here throughout the winter months i want to bring the hives in as soon as practical after the dead out. this is so i can check them out, clean them up before the dead bees start rotting, and prevent any left over honey from getting robbed out so it can be used where most needed.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Denver, Colorado, U.S.A.
    Posts
    2,136

    Default Re: stethoscope type

    This is what I bought, and which didn't work in my application. It is a dual-head stethoscope, and neither head worked.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...0?ie=UTF8&th=1
    --shinbone
    (6th year, 13 hives, Zone 5b, 5500')

  9. #29
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Belpre,Ohio, USA
    Posts
    1,626

    Default Re: stethoscope type

    To hear the bees humming with a stethoscope one needs to listen to the hives when the temperature is in the low 30's, when the temperatures are in the upper 30's the bees are pretty quiet, additionally a lot might depend on how your hives are insulated which would affect internal temperatures differently than hives which are not insulated.

    The stethoscope works great in my yard and it only takes me a few seconds to check each hive, I can tell where the clusters are located and how strong the cluster is. last year I could clearly hear a bee plucking a frame support wire, it sounded like she was tuning her banjo for a hoedown .

    I suppose if one cannot get this method to work for them, then other methods need to be sought out that will work, we all find our own path to follow .
    Bill...in Southeast Ohio Zone 6A, Never look down on anybody unless you are helping them up

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    7,756

    Default Re: stethoscope type

    shinbone, does the dual-head rotate so that one head is active and the other one disabled?
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  11. #31
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Denver, Colorado, U.S.A.
    Posts
    2,136

    Default Re: stethoscope type

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    shinbone, does the dual-head rotate so that one head is active and the other one disabled?
    The head does not rotate, and both inputs are always active.
    --shinbone
    (6th year, 13 hives, Zone 5b, 5500')

  12. #32
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    7,756

    Default Re: stethoscope type

    Quote Originally Posted by shinbone View Post
    The head does not rotate, and both inputs are always active.
    i suspect that is part of the problem. noise coming through the unused head would mask the sounds from the one in use.

    the larger diameter 'diaphragm' head is the one you want to use. i would consider trying to plug the hole in the smaller diameter bell head with a small piece of an expandable foam ear protector.

    does the diaphragm head have a thin plastic 'drum' head over it?
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  13. #33
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Denver, Colorado, U.S.A.
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    2,136

    Default Re: stethoscope type

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    i suspect that is part of the problem. noise coming through the unused head would mask the sounds from the one in use.

    the larger diameter 'diaphragm' head is the one you want to use. i would consider trying to plug the hole in the smaller diameter bell head with a small piece of an expandable foam ear protector.

    does the diaphragm head have a thin plastic 'drum' head over it?
    I'll plug one of the inputs and give it a try when the weather warms up. I wasn't hearing a lot of background noise when I tried the stethoscope, though, so I am thinking it won't make much difference.

    My guess is that a medical stethoscope is designed to work on a soft surface, i.e. human flesh. The patient's soft fleshy skin conforms to the shape of the stethoscope and provides good mechanical coupling for sound transmission.

    For bee hives, the hard stethoscope doesn't conform to the hard surface of the hive body, thus little sound is transferred.

    Perhaps inserting a soft membrane between the stethoscope and the hive body would improve things?
    --shinbone
    (6th year, 13 hives, Zone 5b, 5500')

  14. #34
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Belpre,Ohio, USA
    Posts
    1,626

    Default Re: stethoscope type

    The stethoscope I use has the plastic diaphragm drum head and I can hear the bees clearly whether I place it directly against the wood or onto the winter insulation wrap, however I must block the little hole in the cupped side with my finger to eliminate unwanted background noise. This stethoscope it so sensitive that on warm days I can actually hear the bees walking about inside the hive, yes I can actually hear their little footsteps.

    Whatever stethoscope one uses I believe the diaphragm must be in contact with the wood or winter insulation to work properly and I doubt that cushioning is a necessity. I am speaking from experience when I tell you that this is a great tool for checking up on the condition of your wintering hives.
    Bill...in Southeast Ohio Zone 6A, Never look down on anybody unless you are helping them up

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