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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Do queenless hives sound so much different than a queen right hive? I've had many years of experience with both but just recently decided to look into how reliable the sound emitted from a queenless hive can be used to make this determination? Is it so easy that just walking by a queenless hive can let one know the state of the Queen?
 

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not a good catch-all method, often if there is brood and capped queen cells they act much like they have a queen. During a strong flow too.

Broodless, hopelessly queenless hives are pretty obvious, they almost always fan and moan from the time the hive is opened.
 

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I notice a different sound to a colony when I open it and suspect queenlessness because of it, but not from outside of the hive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I notice a different sound to a colony when I open it and suspect queenlessness because of it, but not from outside of the hive.
This has been my observation as well. Upon opening I can almost always tell there is a queen problem. When queenless the bees act very skittish and tend to be somewhat more defensive although not at all like a hot hive. The bees tend to jump out and bump the hands, hive tool or whatever is pulling frames. The longer they are queenless the worse this seems to get. I've not noticed that this lets up with capped queen cells in the hive and only lessens a bit with a virgin. With a lying queen it seems like it's back to normal about the same day she starts laying. One thing that brought this up was a really strong hive I had with 2 supers on it started sounding loud. It had tons of bees in and out so I didn't get concerned. About a week later this hive got louder and it was just sitting there sounding like a large queenless swarm. I decided to look because I've had hives that were producing large amounts of honey go queenless unexpectedly and within two weeks had some honey frames with Beetle slime. I'm not going to let this happen again. I don't like messing with producing hives other than adding and/or removing supers but if I think a hive got queenless then I'm looking. It doesn't take long during a good flow before a queenless hive gets depopulated enough to not be able to cover the frames and the Beatles get a grip.
Thanks
 

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Do queenless hives sound so much different than a queen right hive? I've had many years of experience with both but just recently decided to look into how reliable the sound emitted from a queenless hive can be used to make this determination? Is it so easy that just walking by a queenless hive can let one know the state of the Queen?
Look up "Apidictor" on the forum search tool. This was an old electronic gadget that did a crude spectrum analysis on hive buzz. The claim was that sound could tell you if a hive were planning to swarm up to 20 days before it happened.

The article buried in the archives here says a queenright hive will normally "hiss" if you slap it. There's a change in the intensity and duration of the hiss if they're preparing to swarm. Presumably this would also occur if they were queenless.

I'm still looking for a good choice of microphones to try this with. Something small and inexpensive that does not need a battery would be preferable. I bought a pair on e-bay that turned out not to be what was advertised. Back when the Apidictor was invented, microphones did not need batteries.
 

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Look up "Apidictor" on the forum search tool. This was an old electronic gadget that did a crude spectrum analysis on hive buzz. The claim was that sound could tell you if a hive were planning to swarm up to 20 days before it happened.
Thanks, you remind me that Dr. Jerry Bromenshenk from Montana ahd an instrument that can analyse a number of conditions by the way a colony sounds. It has a michrophone on a wand and a handheld device w/ a screen on it. $800.00 if you can get one.
 

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If my buddy Simon and I can get something working, I was hoping $15 might be possible, at least for the cost to build the circuit board. An A-D converter with a computer built in is evidently just a few bucks. We're hoping to bundle it in with a hive scale and instrument package.

If you already have a smart phone, an FFT ap and an external microphone start sounding really good.

For $800 I'd buy a low-end Tektronix oscilloscope with FFT function, and retire my old Tektronix built in the last millennium.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I read about Apidictor many moons ago but dismissed it when considering it for monitoring queen state.
I just thought I'd read somewhere that the sound was different enough that queenlessness could be assessed by just standing near the hive. In my case it could be but it is a pretty large hive. For a small hive I doubt I'd be able to make a determination. Either way wouldn't trust my "bee ear" alone for making the call.
Thanks
 

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No idea about the micraphone thingy. But while a queen less hive will often have a roar when opened just because it's quiet doesn't mean its completely queen right.
Hives with drone layers, failed queens etc will often be calm and quiet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
No idea about the micraphone thingy. But while a queen less hive will often have a roar when opened just because it's quiet doesn't mean its completely queen right.
Hives with drone layers, failed queens etc will often be calm and quiet.
Very true. Thanks for pointing this out. These were things I completely overlooked.
Sound for the state of a queen in a hive = not advisable.
 

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The only way I can tell if a hive is queen less is by getting in the hive and look for eggs.
And a queen less hive seems meaner to work .If I can't find eggs I just get a frame of eggs from another hive stick it in the queen less hive and they make a queen almost always.
I can not tell by just sound or by just looking at the out side of the hives.
Maybe in time but not yet. I am Only a 5 year green horn but I'm learning.
Out of my 25 hives I have there are 2 right now that are queen less I gave them eggs today. They been queen less since 5/23 if they don't make a queen this time i'll have to slap a nuc on top that is queen right.
 

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Sound for the state of a queen in a hive = not advisable.
It seems like the most reliable indicator (absent visual inspection) would be chemical detection of Happy Queen Pheromones, since these are what actually regulate behavior in the hive. I'd rather know about pheromone levels than try to guess about a root caused based on an indirect symptom like noise.

That said, I have no idea how easy or difficult it would be to detect these pheromones.
 

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Some of the more experienced beeks around here may tell you they can smell 'em.

For sure the bees can. There are probably some visual cues, such as the behavior of the queen's retinue.
 
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