Spot a swarm

Swarm prediction is something the beekeeping world has been fascinated by for a long time. The inspiration of Arnia stems from the early work done by Eddie Woods (a sound engineer for the BBC) who identified a sound known as the ‘Warble’ from a colony preparing to swarm.

How to spot a swarm on your graphs?

The Arnia system monitors sound, weight, brood temperature and humidity. Weight and flight noise are good indicators of a swarm as shown in the graph below.

Swarm on May 12th

The graph shows the hive weight (blue line) and flight noise (pink line). There is a large rise in flight noise on May 12th combined with a drop in hive weight.

The weight drops as a large numbers of bees leave the hive at once and the microphone picks up the big increase in flying noise. This is a swarm!

The  Arnia system can act as a useful diagnostic tool, aiding management during the swarming season. It is commonly known that prior to swarming the queen decreases in laying. Often there is also a drop in foraging activity.  Coupled with the time of year,  this combination can be a very useful indicator for potential swarming. Thus if in swarming season you identify unstable brood temperature and a drop in flight noise, this combination could warrant a hive inspection.

Research is on-going into swarm indicators. As the number of colonies monitored and available data increases, we will be able to identify other potential acoustic signatures and develop additional monitoring features.

If you have noticed a swarm and have the corresponding graphs, Arnia would be very interested to add your own observations to our library of swarms. Please get in contact with Arnia Support.






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