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Contributed by: individual researcher

Our three years of study of bees' life, using the Apivox Auditor and Apivox Smart Monitor acoustic control devices, led us to conclude that some statements, made by Professor Eskov about acoustic signals of bees during the wintering period, which were considered to be fundamental and not subject to doubt, today look somewhat untenable. We would like to conduct a comparative analysis and allow you to see the reasons why we came to this conclusion...
So, let's talk about bees signals in winter ...
Prof. Eskov* writes: "... components in the range of 210-330 Hz are generated by processes associated with the heat production of bees". Let us disagree with this statement.

Heat production, according to all authoritative scientists, practically does not cause the generation of sound signals. In addition, this statement does not take into account the breed characteristics of the behavior of bees.

Our new observations speak in our favor. We observed signals from bees, whose hives were located in open air, and at a total air temperature of about -10C, were heated by the spring sun... The heating of the hives by the sun activated all signals dramatically, and after sunset, and accordingly, after return of the temperature in the hive to negative values, all signals subsided to almost complete inaudibility. And this contradicts the statement of Prof. Eskov that these signals are the signals emitted by the bees during the heating process, because in this case, they should increase in accordance with a drop in temperature, and not vice versa.

One more data, it seems to us, is confirming our idea. It was obtained this year when working with an observational hive. As we have already written, the family in the observant hive was brought from the cold yard into the cold room.

One side was opened, and we started measurements. The picture on the screen of the Apivox Smart Monitor showed a very low level of acoustic signals. This, in our opinion, corresponds to the mode of maintaining the optimal temperature in the nest, in the period of not very low outdoors temperatures. After that, we started heating of the observational hive using a fan heater. At some intervals, the heating was stopped and measurements were taken. The result showed an increase in the activity of bees in the process of heating the hive. Accordingly, the level of acoustic background also increased. The cluster of bees became more friable, the bees began to do their usual work.

It should be noted, that after a while, the activity of bees continued only around the queen. The overall level of background signals decreased, remaining, however, higher than when they were in hibernation. The reason for this could be the apparently complete lack of works, that could be continued to be done, after the first needs of bees were met.

So, this experiment also speaks about the inverse relationship of the acoustic background of the bee family to the cold in winter. This means, the colder the weather, the lower the acoustic background of the hive at small negative or slightly positive temperatures. As the temperature increases, the bees become more active and begin to work and ventilate the nest. This leads to an increment in the acoustic background of the hive.

Thus, in the process of conducting our own observations of wintering bees, we clearly noticed the dependence of acoustic signals on temperature and time of day! Acoustic background of the family fully corresponds to the works with which bees are currently busy, and differs by nothing from the sound background of the family in summer.

As a result, it can be argued that the strong sound background of the hive in winter speaks of possible problems in the family. About the attempt of the bees to heat the hive and move to a new frame with food, or about external intervention, because of which the family must shift to the active state, in spite of the winter cold. And there is no relationship between the reasons that caused this event and the frequency components of the acoustic background. This can be hunger, mice, excessive concentration of CO2. We just see the attempt of bees, in spite of the cold around, to correct the situation in which they found themselves, and save the family.

* Source:
E. K. Eskov, "Behavior of honey bees", Moscow: Kolos, 1981, p. 184
E. K. Eskov, "Acoustic control of bee colonies"



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