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I don't use an electronic system to predict swarming - I go by the symptoms.

The appearance of drone brood is one of the first obvious signs of swarming a few weeks ahead of the game.

Increased flight activity at the entrance to the hive is another early warning.

Back-filling of the brood area in the brood box with nectar is the one you should take notice that it is time to do some swarm prevention, be it splitting, hive re-arrangement, or adding supers and hoping that will do it.

On adding supers - it really needs to happen before they are back-filling the brood nest. During Spring increase, when there are 2 frames left still not yet filled with honey and/or pollen, its a good time to add a super. Keep track of this on your calendar, even going so far as to weigh your hives with a scale. Over a few years, you'll become a pretty good judge, especially if you check your previous years' calendars.

Once queen cells appear, it is too late. They are in swarm mode and you'll have to break them up or risk losing them to swarming. Be sure to put queen cells and open brood into each nucleus or split.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
I don't use an electronic system to predict swarming - I go by the symptoms.

Back-filling of the brood area in the brood box with nectar is the one you should take notice that it is time to do some swarm prevention, be it splitting, hive re-arrangement, or adding supers and hoping that will do it.

Over a few years, you'll become a pretty good judge, especially if you check your previous years' calendars.
I'm still seeing everything for the first time. By the time I realized they were back filling there were queen cells and half my bees were gone. I'm better at inspections this year than last. I do need to take better notes.

I was originally googling pi slow motion and time lapse photography and branched into the swarm detection. I missed when my hive swarmed last year and got lucky twice this year. Take care.
ks
 

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You may care to Google for "Apidictor" - which was a hive listening device from the 1960's. It's been modernised a few times and there have been other devices based on the same principle.

Must say that I find the whole idea of remote beekeeping somewhat distasteful - as there's really no substitute for getting your head inside a beehive to see for yourself exactly what's going on ...
LJ
 

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You may care to Google for "Apidictor" - which was a hive listening device from the 1960's. It's been modernised a few times and there have been other devices based on the same principle.

Must say that I find the whole idea of remote beekeeping somewhat distasteful - as there's really no substitute for getting your head inside a beehive to see for yourself exactly what's going on ...
LJ
All these "high tech" solutions often are just lab-level inventions in the search of the appropriate applications in real life.
People without the first-hand knowledge of the problem come up with a solution to it (the problem).
I would not bother with my time and money to support yet another such "solution".

So yes, distasteful.

Chicago_ks, there is only one way - live it.
If it takes killing/loosing some bees, that's what it takes.

Granted - a large-scale commercial operator could actually use appropriate remote sensing app - that makes some sense.
But then the costs better be reasonable.

PS: my 12-year old is now also "keeping bees";
Minecraft (the computer game) now has bee hive feature in it;
so yes - you get to keep bees in the computer game, sitting at the keyboard.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
You may care to Google for "Apidictor" - which was a hive listening device from the 1960's. It's been modernised a few times and there have been other devices based on the same principle.

Must say that I find the whole idea of remote beekeeping somewhat distasteful - as there's really no substitute for getting your head inside a beehive to see for yourself exactly what's going on ...
LJ
Just googled Apidictor. The plans are on Beesource. I'm not looking to automate my hives. In a year and a half my 2 hives have swarmed 3 times. All my error. It is a funny idea to me that I might be able to have my apiary (backyard) email me that there is a swarm.
ks
 

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ks.

I'm older and not very tech savvy so I agree with kilocharly. I'm in mid-Missouri so quite a bit further south than Chicago area. So here's my time frame indicator, April 15 is the beginning of our swarm season here. Check with club members or google for your start date. After that I go into the brood chamber once a week or ten days and check for queen cells. You can also use 8 frames of brood as a starting point. I go to mid -May as my stopping point since I've got supers on after that. Once I put the supers on that seems to slow them down but not always. Look for the fellows post on here who talks about Opening Up The Side Of The Brood Nest. That's good info that may help correct some of your errors as well. Of course they can swarm until the fall as well but that's another discussion.

Yes, notes do help.

Better Luck next year.
 

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ks.

I'm older and not very tech savvy so I agree with kilocharly. I'm in mid-Missouri so quite a bit further south than Chicago area.

Look for the fellows post on here who talks about Opening Up The Side Of The Brood Nest. That's good info that may help correct some of your errors as well. Of course they can swarm until the fall as well but that's another discussion.

Yes, notes do help.

Better Luck next year.
Thanks for the info. I've looked at the OTSB and missed my opportunity this spring. We had a really rainy spring and I didn't take advantage of some of the clear days. The dates of my swarms are etched in my mind and written down for when the mind forgets.
ks
 

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In the linked article they connected 2 swarm events to loss of weight and a noisy burst.
ks
Weight graphs in Figure 12a and Figure 13a look promising. (sound measurement would have to be continuous but weight can be measured periodically)
 

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Some one turnrd the apidictor into an iPhone app a few years ago. You can read up on the principles in Beesource's archives and program it if that makes your skirt fly up.

I considered it for scaling up and computerizing an entire commercial drop of hives, but watching and keeping a calendar works better - just stay ahead of the supering and do it correctly. The sequence is in Ormond and Harry Aebi's book, also in Eugene Killion's book, Honey In the Comb.

Basically, you add a super whenever they get within 2 frames of full, so when you have 8 frames iat about 85% full n 10-frame equipment or 6 frames at 85% in 8-frame equipment, its time to add a super. Your area and the rainfall will determine how many days that is.

The first super goes above the brood box. The second super goes between the first and the brood box. The third super goes in between the first and the second supers. The fourth super goes between the first and the third. The fifth super goes right above the brood box and replaces the second, which now goes to the top of the stack. The sixth goes above #5. The seventh goes between #6 and #5.

This sequence properly timed, has prevented colonies with 120,000 to perhaps 150,000 bees from swarming and has packed as high as 404 pounds of honey on a single beehive. That's some pretty darn good beekeeping!

If you get in the habit of using a scale, this is the time to learn what the weights are telling you. Time to add a super and time to move on to the next nectar / pollen flow, who needs a boost frame and who can donate that frame of capped brood and, when the weights go down a bit in July (for Southern California), time to extract honey. After a few years, it all starts to make sense, and lo and behold, you've gone from person with a bee suit to beekeeper.
 

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I wanted to know if anybody had used a Raspberry Pi to detect or predict swarming. I didn't find a ton but this was interesting.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7248914/

It is about sensors in an apiary.
ks
An interesting question and even more interesting that not a single person answered "No, I have not used a Raspberry Pi" or any iteration of that.
Never was it asked or implied that the poster wanted to replace physical hive inspections.
Never was it asked or implied that the poster thought electronic monitoring was better or that he thought a "robohive" was better.
Maybe he loves to tinker. There are a *LOT* of tinkering beekeepers, most don't dive into electronics, but stick with more known materials.
Maybe he knows some tech-obsessed younger (older?) people and sees using a rPi (Raspberry Pi SOC computer) as a way to draw people outside and into nature and beekeeping.

Consequently, I find it distasteful to diminish and not answer the original question, criticize it, but in all reality not understanding what the intentions are or what purpose they may serve.

Personally, I've floated the idea of an Arduino or rPi controlled sensor to monitor cluster temperatures in the winter and have the ability to look at your phone to see the readouts.

THERE WERE A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO THOUGHT THIS WAS VERY COOL (interesting.)

I never considered it a replacement for anything in particular but found it an interesting way to learn more about programming, interfacing and applications using a favourite hobby: Beekeeping!

@Chicago_ks - I'd be VERY interested to listen to what you find out. To learn if there are any projects happening and what people are doing. IDK if that means I would do any or use any, but there is clearly interest in this topic and from my experience, it could REALLY provide a bridge to get kids AND adults away from the electronic world and into nature's world by connecting the two, not judging them.

Good luck!
 
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