Swarmy helps you to measure sound levels inside your beehives.
Data Logger – record sound levels at 7 different frequencies. As these sound levels change over time you may be able to predict when your hive will swarm.
Observe – good for simply listening to the sound in your hive. You can also use this screen to record a note about what you hear or see.
Reports – you can export data from Swarmy to view it on your computer. If you use Swarmy to take notes on several hives a day then you can export these notes as a batch.
Swarmy provides a data logger to record the sound levels in your hive at 7 frequencies. This data log can later be exported for analysis in a spreadsheet like Excel. You’ll need to connect a mic to your iOS device and get it into your hive or put it beneath your screened bottom board by attaching it to a stick or dowel. In order to get a mic into your hive I recommend building a mic frame. Unfortunately you can’t plug a plain electret microphone into your phone because it won’t be powered properly. Using this splitter will power the microphone as well as give you a second jack for your headphones.
In 1964, Eddie Woods (1901 – 1976) – a BBC radio engineer – created a device called the Apidictor. It would filter sound from a beehive to make certain frequencies easier to hear and measure. Eddie had a keen ear and had discovered that honey bees produce different sounds depending on conditions within the hive. For instance, if you knock once on the outside of a hive you should hear a short, sharp hiss. The shorter and more intense this reaction is indicates how defensive the bees are and indicates that the hive is queen-right. The other phenomena he was interested in was a warble produced when brood was no longer hatching and/or the queen was eating less. The nurse bees produce this warble and he discovered it was an indicator for swarming. Using the apidictor a beekeeper would regularly measure the sound level and as it changed could decide when a hive inspection was appropriate.
There isn’t much information available about Eddie Wood’s research but a few people have taken it up again in the hopes of learning more. I built Swarmy to help with this research.
The following audio recording by Eddie Woods will introduce you to the specific sounds that Swarmy will help you to better hear.
Listen to the Bees by Rex Boys is a book about Eddie Wood’s research.
Dave Cushman’s site discussing the workings of the original Apidictor.
Acoustic Analysis of Bee Behavior at beehacker.com