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There is a new generation of sound level meters that do spectral analysis (display Hz graphically), which would make fine apidictors. You probably don't want to spend that kind of money. I rented one a few years back because my major corporation couldn't afford one.

I have seen smart phone aps that do FFT (Fast Fourier Transform) spectrum analysis. I know i-phones have aps available.

I've been playing around with a Sony pocket recorder and a script I use in a math package called Octave (poor man's MatLab). I could provide the script if you are a geek and willing to get into more math than most beeks.

A friend of mine and I are cobbing together some circuit boards for a hive instrument package. I was going to put an audio amp and microphone jack on it and run the signal to a computer board. He thinks he can put a computer right on the board in the hive, giving apidiction capability for some trivially low cost. The processor costs maybe $2. My thought is to monitor the low frequency sounds automatically.

There's an apidictor archive buried here (link below) that describes the idea. One thing my version won't do may be the easiest for you to try. Smack the hive and listen for a hiss. Learning to distinguish the different kinds of hiss is supposed to tell you what the hive is planning. You are supposed to be able to predict swarms about 20 days in advance. To automate that I'd need to automate slapping the hive.

http://www.beesource.com/build-it-yourself/apidictor/
 

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Might there not be some app out there which will enable you to use your phone?
There is an app, its call "Swarmy". Not sure if the author is still working on it, we interviewed him on our podcast in June last year. It might worth to getting in touch with him, I believe it runs on IOS (ie. Apple devices)

The interview is here:-
James Moore talks about his bees and the Swarmy Application

Its an interesting topic and wonder if some kind of swarm alert device can be built, that sends you an SMS message when a swarm is about to happen.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
im actually going to try a similar experiment to what your doing Phoebee but im going to be using decibels as my units of measurement, it keeps it cheaper. decibel readers are in stores for $20 or on apps.
aside from smacking the hive and making the bees mad, i am going to try your advise.
 

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Simple sound level meters that just read dB don't distinguish frequency. That's just sound pressure. The fancy ones do dB at specific frequencies.

But with modern electronics, it should not require an instrument of several thousand dollars to do this. The electronics required are an analog to digital converter and a single chip computer. These days that's maybe $5 in parts. Toss in a cheap microphone and some sort of display for the spectrum, it should be possible to make one for $20. Let us know if you find one.

Smart phones have the stuff to do it. My dumb-as-a-stump Tracfone, not so much.

As for smacking the hives, read that article and whatever else you can find. I'm looking forward to trying it. I think you might find a YouTube video or two demonstrating it. They are supposed to calm down in 20 seconds or so, and IIRC if they calm down really fast, they're packing to leave.

My hope is that taking good data automatically and looking for the relative peak height of the low frequency wing buzz (particularly changes around 240 Hz) will be enough. No slap required. I've run some bee recordings and can definitely distinguish the peaks, but it will take some experience to prove anything useful.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
im actually a bit of a techy and am going to build a set up to measure the sounds(good tip on the dB not working) i will have to change my reader idea but the rest i already have. I am going to try the slapping and see if i can get the hang of that.

im in florida so my results for the frequency of the hive might be slightly different, due to the hot temperature and high humidity means the workers flap their wings to help cool down the hive and lower the humidity. i keep my hives in shaded areas so temp and humidity isnt a problem but it still might factor in.
 

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You might be able to find something that does the job for $20-40 ... I just have not seen one. Clearly I think it is possible to build one. There are a lot of tools for music out there like tuners and acoustic analyzers that are not all that far off.

Octave is free under the GNU license, and a version is available for Windows. It has all the needed functions built in, and you're welcome to the short (and rough) script I have so far. Octave/Matlab scripts look a little like the C programming language, but the hairy-bear math has all been worked out so you can do advanced stuff without a PhD in applied mathematics.

I'm itching to try all this for myself. So far I've only been able to try recordings of other people's bees. We've been assured our nucs will be ready in "mid to late April". Supposedly they meant THIS year. (Looks forlornly at calendar.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I was actually looking at tuner apps and such last night thinking that it might work to a degree(not as accurate as sound meters but close-ish)

i'll look into the Octave, i prefer to avoid extreme mathematics if at all possible.

i know what you mean. My new packages are gonna be her Thursday, THIS Thursday and i am going to be using them as my primary test hive.
how many nucs did you order?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
yea its been pouring since 3pm and looks like its going to keep pouring.....
i ordered one package of bees and its coming in the mail but not sure how they will like being installed with the conditions as they are..
advice?
 

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A large umbrella? I'm not the guy to ask. There was a thread on this a couple of days back. Somebody, maybe Michael Bush, mentioned that a lot of people spray bees with syrup to keep them from flying, and get away with it. Temperature may be the bigger factor. But read the thread and don't take my advice because its (woosh) over my head.

If I get the call that the nucs are ready, I know I'll be looking this up.
 
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