APIVOX AUDITOR the Beekeepers Acoustic Assistant
As with many creatures, the Bees have a communication system of their own. It’s been this way for hundreds of years. The question is, can you understand their language? Likely not. Most beekeepers know colonies can Hiss, Queens can pipe & Workers can do their bee dance. But did you know there are many other sounds that the colony can make in order to communicate? You’ve likely heard some of these sounds, but not able to interprut their meaning. Colonies can also Warble, Wave, Moan, Crackle, Plead, Quibble and Rip a Quilt. But if you aren’t educated in such Bee-language, you are at a sore disadvantage and very much ON YOUR HEELS in your Beekeeping efforts & skills.
With the advent of the Smart Phone, our world has certainly changed. There are now Apps for nearly every facet of life, even in the Beekeeping world. But first, let me ask you some questions. What if, you could have a Smart Phone, with such an App, that could tell you when the Bees are about to Swarm? What if, you could have an App, that could tell you when the colony is ready to accept a new Queen? What if, you could have an App, that could tell you the General State of the colony and how they feel? And even more variables that have an importance in our Beekeeping efforts. Does such a device exist? Yes! But is it so complex that I can’t understand it either? No!
In 1964, Eddie Woods (1901 – 1976) – a BBC radio engineer – created a device called the Apidictor. 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/buzz. The shorter and more intense this reaction indicates how defensive the bees are and that 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.
“Sound engineers are familiar with a phenomenon known as the ‘cocktail party effect’. This is the ability of the human brain, in a room full of chattering people, to pick out and concentrate on one conversation, not necessarily the loudest. Eddie was blessed with this ability and it served him well when listening to the medley of sounds that his microphone picked up in the hive.
One sound that caught his attention was a sort of warbling noise that varied between the notes A and C sharp; that’s 225 – 285 Hz in terms of frequency. He noticed that this sound got steadily louder, then it stopped and a day or so later a swarm took off.
Eventually, he established that it was made by the 4-1/2 to 6 day old nurse bees, his reasoning being as follows:
In a normal colony there are about 4,000 nurse bees, half of which feed the brood and the other half, the queen, who eats 20 times her own weight in a day.
When a colony decides to swarm, its first action is to reduce the supply of food to the queen in order to slim her down into a condition for flying. This puts some of the nurse bees out of work and reduces her egg laying. Hence, a few days later, there are fewer larvae to feed so more nurse bees become unemployed and the whole process is progressive.
The nurses have to get rid of the energy that would go into food production so they probably stand there exercising by flapping their wings, fanning in fact, but how do we account for the peculiar frequency?
In flight, an adult bee flaps its wings 250 times a second but when fanning, it grips the comb and this brings the frequency down to 190 Hz. (Hz is just an abbreviation for Hertz which is the engineer’s word for ‘times a second’.) However, a young bee’s wings do not harden completely until it is 9 days old and until then the resonant frequency is higher. It may be that 4-1/2 day wings resonate at 285Hz and the 6 day old ones at 225Hz and the sound is a mixture of single frequencies rather than a collection of warbles from individual bees.
Eddie built a simple audio frequency amplifier with microphone and headphones and incorporated what is known as a bandpass filter. This allowed the frequency band 225-285Hz through to the ear and blocked off the rest, making it easier to hear.
Note that the flight frequency of 250 Hz falls in this band which is why the tests should be made in the evening after flying has stopped.
Eddie stressed that the warble does not necessarily indicate a swarm; it indicates that the queen has gone off laying and there could be other reasons. In any case, it means a brood nest inspection is needed.
If you give a hive a knock with the flat of the hand, the bees hiss at you and this is something that Eddie listened to very carefully. Under normal conditions it is a short sharp noise, lasting about 1/2 a second, starting and finishing quite suddenly; the bees are alert and defensive. If a swarm is in the offing, the bees are in a happy-go-lucky mood, the sound is not so loud, rising and falling less sharply. Eddie described this as a loyalty sound and he fitted another filter to help pick it out.
With his Apidictor instrument he found he could get up to three weeks warning of swarm preparations and was alerted 10 days before queen cells were started.
He fitted the instrument with a 3-position switch for listening to the normal hive noise, the warble and the hiss. With added refinements he called it the Apdictor, patented it and marketed it in 1964, selling about 300 worldwide.
Continuing Eddy Woods work, a Russian Beekeeper Serjio Glebbskij who studied at the Faculty of Electronics and Computer Science. His specialty was control systems. He worked as a developer of digital program-controlled systems. Beekeeping, is his hobby, which was passed to him from his father, he has keep bees for nearly 30 years. His knowledge was seriously improved after he studied the works of American scientists. However on the topic of acoustic control of bees in general, he has not found better works than those made by Eddy Woods in the U.S. and Eskov in Russia.”
Now Serjio Glebbskij has developed a smartphone app “The APIVOX AUDITOR” Apivox Auditor makes it possible to carry out an inspection of bee societies just in a few minutes without opening the hive.
Apivox Auditor available from firstname.lastname@example.org
or directly from Apivox Auditor
Material below is from Little Creek Bee Ranch Ken Davis http://www.littlecreekbeeranch.com/Apivox-Auditor.html
How much do you know about Beekeeping history? Ever hear of Eddy Woods? No? Ever hear of Serjio Glebbskij? No? Ever hear of Rex Boys? No, not that one either. Ever read “Listen to the Bees”, by Rex Boys? No?! Seriously? Then it’s time to bring you up to speed in the Beekeeping world. Here’s a short over view on how we got here.
In the middle of WWII, Winston Churchill challenged the British citizens by creating a program called Dig For Victory. Simply put, what personal contribution can you make, to help the war effort? Maybe you could dig your own garden, and produce more vegtables. Resources were stretched and supplies thin. A young Eddy Woods who was already a Beekeepr, decided he would contribute by studying the sounds of Bee hives. He was also in the British Army, as a Communication Speacilist. His contribution was in building the first Apidictor, in order to listen to the inside of the colony. His plans for this initial Apidictor can be found on BeeSource.com under the link titled “Build It”. In the late 40’s, 50’s and 60’s, listening to the inside of the colony was COMMON PRACTICE in the Beekeeping community. Eddy Woods was successful in predicting Swarm preperations in the colony, BEFORE, the colony decided to leave. This allowed the Beekeeper to take action, and keep more bees at home. (Which most of us would be excited to do also!) Fast forward to today.
As with many creatures, the Bees have a communication system of their own. It’s been this way for hundreds of years. The poor Beekeeper has now become the variable, and not the Bees. The question is, can you understand their language? Likely not. Most beekeepers know colonies can Hiss, Queens can pipe & Workers can do their bee dance. But did you know their are many other sounds that the colony can make in order to communicate? You’ve likely heard some of these sounds, but not able to interprut their meaning. Colonies can also Warble, Wave, Moan, Crackle, Plead, Quibble and Rip a Quilt. But if you aren’t educated in such Bee-language, you are at a sore disatvantage and very much ON YOUR HEELS in your Beekeeping efforts & skills.
With the advent of the Smart Phone, our world has certainly changed. There are now Apps for nearly every fasit of life, even in the Beekeeping world. But first, let me ask you some questions. What if, you could have a Smart Phone, with such an App, that could tell you when the Bees are about to Swarm? Important? We think so. What if, you could have an App, that could tell you when the colony is ready to accept a new Queen? Important? We think so. What if, you could have an App, that could tell you the General State of the colony and how they feel? Important? Yip! And even more variables that have an importance in our Beekeeping efforts. Does such a device exist? Yes! But is it so complex that I can’t understand it either? No!
Bees bring a very high bar to the Beekeeping game. It’s an ongoing challenge to keep up with their intelligence. Maybe this part of Beekeeping isn’t for everyone. But then again, they said that about Henry Ford too~! Change is hard. Change makes people THINK. And people don’t like to THINK. But if you’re willing. And if you’re coachable & humble, maybe the Apivox Auditor will open doors for you in your Beekeeping efforts that otherwise were shut tight until now. It will certainly make our efforts easier!!! Why open the hive if you don’t have to do so? Our “checks” always seem to entail OPENING of a hive. This is disturbing to the colony, causes undue stress and many times kills a few bees needlessly. Much less to say, labor intensive for the Beekeeper. The Apivox Auditor certainly doesn’t REPLACE the Beekeeper. But more importantly, gives us deeper insight into how the colony feels INSIDE their house, WITHOUT us having to always open and check. This alone, is a huge advantage in keeping colonies healthy.
Below, you’ll find various links to videos that Serjio Glebbskij (from Russia), has posted for our understanding and learning. Initially it may seem overwhelming. Keep coming back to view these videos several times. You’ll get the hang of it. It’s easier than it looks.
A few notes of clarification;
1) This App is made for Android systems only. Apple is very restrictive in their recording of sounds, etc. iOS Apple phones won’t work. Sorry. When’s your next upgrade?
2) You won’t find this App in the app store. But I’m sure you’ll try anyway.
3) Cost? $40 currently.
4) This is a privately developed App. Not tied to Google or Apple.
5) Only uses 2-3gigs.
6) Can be used on Tablets with Android 4.5 or higher.
7) You can also use Blue Tooth ear piece! Cool uh?
8) Each app is customized to THAT particular device and your area.
You won’t be able to share with friends. Sorry.
9) You will be required to open a Gmail acct for delivery.
10) Fill out the Apivox Auditor Order Form
11) Click on the Order Form link. Print out the order form. Fill out the
required info and send to email@example.com . In subject line; My Apivox Order form.
12) If you’d like to go check out Serjio’s website, click here; ApivoxAuditor.com
Who is Serjio Glebbskij? “I studied at the Faculty of Electronics and Computer Science. My specialty was control systems. But as a result, I worked as a developer of digital program-controlled systems. Beekeeping, this is my hobby, which was passed to me from my father, and I’ve been keeping bees for nearly 30 years. But my knowledge was seriously improved after I studied the works of American scientist, in which I found a lot of interesting details. While on the topic of acoutsitc control in general, I have not found better works than made by Eddy Woods in the U.S. and Eskov in Russia.”
What’s this? This is a Joyo I-mini mic for your Smart Phone. Do you have to have this to run the Apivox Auditor? No, but it sure makes a difference in the readings. This little device enhances the sounds coming out of the hive & into the phone, which gives us a better reading on the Apivox. Comes as packaged in picture below. We typically have these in stock, on site. Cost is $40. + S&H $10 = $50 total. Check with us for availability upon ordering your Apivox Auditor.
Internal Mic Set Up on the Apivox Set up details
Set Up of the Apivox Auditor
External Mic Set Up on the Apivox
Frequency level tests for Setup – 50hz to 550hz
Examples of how to use the Apivox
Apivox Auditor makes it possible to carry out an inspection of bee societies just in a few minutes without opening the hive.
Apivox Auditor available from firstname.lastname@example.org
or directly from Apivox Auditor