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I am a first year bee keeper and had a pretty successful harvest. But of course I have a lot of questions. In some of the books I've read, they advise you to do a thorough hive inspection every time you enter the hive: locate the queen, look at the brood pattern, etc. Do most beekeepers actually do this on a frequent basis? It seems that it would be very disruptive to the hive to do an inspection of this sort which would involve taking off the supers and inspecting even the bottom hive body.
 

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as you are a new beekeeper,i would encourage you to inspect your hive fairly frequently and throughly the first year for your benefit,get used to finding your queen ,looking at brood patterns,seeing how they progress,get a good technique for handling frames,get comfortable with your bees.once you got the feel of it,then you can slack off on the inspections.
 

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I agree with Hoosierhiver. It's probably not necessary all the time, but when you're starting out you need to get a feel for things. Before you even open it up, look at the bees coming and going and listen to the hum of the hive. Then note the conditions with the sounds and the signs you've observed. After a while you can hear that something is different in the hive and investigate to see what that is. Then after a while you'll know what kind of noises they make when they are being robbed, when they are rasing a new queen, when they are queenless, when a new queen hatches etc. Then you don't need to open them up so often.

If you open the hive and you really don't have the time to go through everything, don't. But if you do go through the hive, it will be a learning experience.
 

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Greetings MrBee,

Please describe for us the sounds for the follwing:

1) When they are being robbed
2) When they are raising a new queen
3) When they are queenless
4) When a new queen hatches

thanx,
Dave W
 

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>Please describe for us the sounds for the follwing:

I'm not sure I know HOW to describe them. They are all buzzing sounds. They vary in volume. They vary in pitch. They have other sounds mixed in. Sometimes clicking sounds and sometimes a few bees doing something different from the rest. I just try to get a feeling for them.

It's like saying what a rose smells like. It's hard to say, but I recognize it when I smell it. You'll really just have to observe to learn them. I have an observation hive, so when they start sounding different I look for the cause or watch for the next few days to see what they do. That's really the BEST way to learn.

I'll try my best to remember the sounds.

>1) When they are being robbed

There is a dissononce to the sound. Some bees are buzzing at one pitch and others at another pitch, but they don't sound like they are in harmony. Also some intermittent sounds from some solitary bees thrown in that punctuate the sounds.

>2) When they are raising a new queen

Assuming this is a supercedure it sounds fairly harmonious, but it is different than your normal sounds. It's a bit louder and the pitch seems different to me but I can't put my finger on why. I can't remember if it sound higher or lower.

>3) When they are queenless

Once you've heard this and classified it, it's hard not to recognize it. It's not a low steady hum like you usually hear. More highs thrown in. Not as many solitary bees punctuating it as the robbing scenario.

>4) When a new queen hatches

Among other things the real give away here is the queen herself. When she's still in the cell she will be making a quacking sound like a duck. When she's out she will make a piping sound like the pipe with a reed. But the bees are also much more animated and the sound is higher pitched than the normal low hum. More excitment. Less discord than the robbing scenario.

5) When they are preparing to swarm.

They make a sound that moves between two notes. It's not a real high pitched sound, but higher than the normal hum of the hive. It's kind of a warble sound. A bit dissonant.
 

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I guess I'll have to find my stethoscope. (sp)

I have heard the queen sounds.

You can hear that from a distance from the hive. I didn't know what it was at the time.

I wish there was a tape we could listen to so we could identify these sounds to diagnose without entering the hives...
 

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They always sound the same to me. Of course, I am new at this and don't hear very well either. I will start to listen now that I know there is a difference to listen for.
 

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Greetings . . .

Thank you, MrBEE.

I have been fall-feeding for the past few days. Last evening, as I approched my hive, I heard (first time) from about 20 Ft away, the sound of my bees fanning, as they "evaporate the syrup into honey".

At first, I didnt think the sound was coming from the hive.

Your right (again
), the sound is HARD to describe, but one that I'll never forget.

thanx
Dave W
 

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Greetings . . .

Daisy had another GREAT idea!

"Sounds from the Hive"

Now that should be worth a $20 bill.

Cant wait to find it in my next ABJ or supply catalog.
 

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MrBEE,

RE: "Sounds from the hive"

Can you give us some idea of when the "sound" begins, how long does it last?

EXAMPLE - Raising a new queen:
Begins w/ cup? Capped cell?
Is this sound make along w/ the "piping"?
How long does she pipe?

Please define for
1) being robbed
2) raising new queen
3) queenless
4) queen hatches
5) preparing to swarm

Thank You,
Dave W
 

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>Can you give us some idea of when the "sound" begins, how long does it last?

I've never taken notes on this. I've just observed and have more of a "feel" than a set of rules. Someone else may have observed different behavior with their bees, but here's a stab at this.

>EXAMPLE - Raising a new queen:
>Begins w/ cup? Capped cell?
It begins before they start and changes gradually until she hatches but could have other things mixed in. Especially if they decide to swarm.

>Is this sound make along w/ the "piping"?
>How long does she pipe?

Hard to say. It usually seems to have something to do with other queen cells. The bees will keep the emerged queen, who is the one piping, from the emerging queens, who are the ones quacking. The bees may even confine the emerging queen. It will probably continue until there is only one queen because of whatever outcome the workers have in mind. Whether that is killing the free one, or swarming with the free one, or whatever.

>Please define for
>1) being robbed
They will keep it up night and day until the robbing stops. I always wonder why they keep making it at night when the robbers have gone home.

>2) raising new queen
From when they decide to until the new queen is emerged. Then they make different sounds until she's laying.

>3) queenless
The most right after they discover, but I don't think it quite goes back to normal until after the new queen is laying.

>4) queen hatches (emereges?)
There is a lot of excitment in the hive. But mostly it lasts from when she starts quacking until she emerges. But doesn't really go back to normal until she is laying.

>5) preparing to swarm
The change sounds as long as 10 days, but it's most noticable about 24 hours before they leave.
 

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Well Dave, I think it's a great idea too and I'd pay to have a tape of sounds with narration to go with it.

We need the sounds as they are heard from outside the hive. Maybe placing the mircophone at a crack in the middle of two boxes to record the sounds that would be useful to beekeepers.

But one would think that a college course would have created this for it's classes.
 

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On the subject of interesting sounds, I was putting in hive top feeders today and had to squash a few yellow jacks during the process. These were the really small yellow jacks about a third the size of a honeybee. Well, after squashing one, this diligent bee went over to inspect the yellow jack. It was almost humorous. The bee would repeatedly poke the yellow jack and then and immediately run back as if he was expecting a big fight. Once the bee figured out that the yellow jack was dead he grabbed it and started to fly away, but the really funny thing was the sound that this bee made during his flight, it was a policeman escorting a prisoner through an unruly crowd. Its almost like I could hear the bee saying, “look out I got a yellow jack here…step aside”. I’ve never heard a single bee make such a loud buzzing sound. It was very surprising.
 

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I have heard what I call quacking sounds from a box of five queens. Sounded like : Zoot,zoot zoot. If this is piping I expected it to be a lot higher.

Dickm
 

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I am guessing, but I think the term "piping" is describing a reeded pipe. It sounds like a reed intrument.

The quacking sound is not so much like a zoot sound but more like a quack. The tone is entirely different.
 

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nmist, that was very interesting.....

Thanks for sharing the link....

I am using a stethoscope to listen at the cracks in the hives at different times, thinking I'm giving myself some training. ;^)
 
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