04/10/2014 : START

25/03/2015 : PHASE 1 running



Speaking to the founder of UrBees® on a thousand chances to use Arduino microprocessor technologies, etc.. Antonio told me of a fresh project, never really started, in U.S.A. of a group of young people who were in their own way to record the sound of bees in order to understand if and when were about to swarm. I replied that I had already started the study a couple of years ago, beginning to knock on the doors to the FabLab in Turin (and where, if not?)

It all began when announced the new Arduino Due, i.e. a version similar to Raspberry with 32-bit ARM processor, capable of supporting more complex tasks and instructions and with a larger memory. But the prerogative of Arduino was disclosed in the network with a single focus: Arduino Due can both sample and process audio. So I went to ask directly to Comba and Uwe if the libraries were already available.. but there was a negative response. And so again.. and still now :| ...

Today I can rewrite project in a new suite. here you are.



Prevent swarming (ambitious?) through the analysis of noise of bees.



There are bees. You find a 512byte PATTERN, up to 1024, which is the ' voice ' of the swarming family. And as in the principle of operation of the antivirus, you will use this pattern for use then everyday, for an alert. If the colony make a noise similar to the pattern (in frequency and intensity and style), the alarm switches ON. The pattern is like a drawing of a tent. Always the same, endlessly repeatable.

GANTT in prosa:

Phase 0 is acquiring scientific historical esperiences.

My tribute goes to giant memories of bigs of beekeepers in Italy, where archives are deposited decades and decades of scientific and technical information : Gianni Savorelli and Paolo Faccioli. Hence the advice on where to find historical sources. A list of texts from which I spent time to find sources:

1) “Vibratory and Airborne-Sound Signals in Bee Communication (Hymenoptera)” ( Michael Hrncir, Friedrich G. Barth and Ju ̈rgen Tautz)

2) Monitoring of swarming sounds in bee hives for early detection of the swarming period (S. Ferrari , M. Silva,  M. Guarino, D. Berckmans)

3) “The Beekeeper's Handbook” (Diana Sammataro and Alphonse Avitabile 1978,1998 Cornell University)

4)“The sound background of the honeybee colony.” (Es'kov, E. K. Journal Zoologicheskii Zhurnal 1970 Vol. 49 No. 2 pp. 241-248 ISSN 0044-5134 Record Number 19740200786

5) “listen to bees”

6)“High frequency sounds produced by Cyprian honeybees Apis mellifera cypria when confronting their predator, the Oriental hornet Vespa orientalis*”Apidologie 39 (2008) 468–474 DOI: 10.1051/apido:2008027 

7) “Swarming in honey bees (Apis mellifera) and Varroa destructor population development in Sweden”Apidologie 34 (2003) 389–397 DOI: 10.1051/apido:2003032 

8) “The effect of the age of the honey bee (Apis mellifera L) queen on worker population, swarming and honey yields in a subtropical climate”. (H Hauser, Y Lensky. ) and Apidologie, Springer Verlag (Germany), 1994, 25 (6), pp.566-578. <hal-00891233>

9)“Swarming, defensive and hygienic behaviour in honey bee colonies of different genetic origin in a pan-European experiment” Journal of Apicultural Research 53(2): 248-260 (2014) DOI 10.3896/IBRA.

10) BBKA Audio Cassettes.

1) Sounds in Beekeeping. 2)Some BBC Broadcasts 1944 - 55 Simpsoi The Mechanism of Honey Bee Queen Piping. Z.vergi.Physiol 48 (1964) Spangler.H.G Suppression of Honey Bee Flight Activity with Substrate Vibrations. Journal of Economic Entomology Vol.62 Oct. 1969 Communication with Queen Honey Bees by Substrate Sound.

11) Science Oct 19th 1962. Information Processing by Honey Bees. Bionics Symposium 1963. Sound Communication in Honeybees. Scientific American 210 (1964). Sound Generation in Honey Bees.

12)Final Report to Office of Naval Research Mar. 1965.

13)Electronics in Bee Fanning. Communications and Electronics , 1,No. 1,(1954)

14)Electronic Prediction of Swarming in Bees. Nature Sept. 19 1959.

15) The Queen Bee's Siren. New Scientist Vol. 18 pp 50 1 - 503 (1963).

16)Electronic Control of Bees. American Bee Journal Feb. 1965.

17)Numerous articles in British Bee Journal 1950 – 69

18)  and



PHASE 1: Acquiring hardware.

HW is easy. An usb dongle with Automatich Voice Record Activation.

Basing on technical data of bee vibration frequency (in Hz) and intensity (in db) at various stages preceding the swarming, the unit I bought has been modified to work and enable autoenrollment environment on the basis of a warning threshold (or post-construction queen cells). It can record hours but only if the colony is located in that specific critical moment.

Those dongles are already widely on sale (now.. in early 2015 at cheap). Each one has special features, many of them are designed for educational and journalistic records. Have an intelligent actuator, such that the registration is always active, but dormant. Only if the volume (intensity) of the noise exceeds a certain threshold, it triggers recording. This saves unnecessary recordings, volume and battery.


PHASE 2 is to run and analyze records. And reject bad ones.


PHASE 3 is cleaning. You select the appropriate frequency heart of each block of records, blend the signals, and create the PATTERN.


PHASE 4 is triggering and experimentation in the apiary.


This the end.. is it ready to predict swarm ?