Occasionally, queen bees decide to up and leave their hives. When they do this, they take much of their hive’s population with them. Which is a big bummer for beekeepers.
Some researchers have found a way to use an accelerometer — like one found in the iPhone — to figure out when a queen bee might decide to take off.
“The method relies on the computer learning the language of the buzzing hives,” says Bencsik. The team found several signals in the vibrations – for instance, vibrations peak at sunrise – which could be used to monitor the health of a colony. Crucially, about 10 days before swarming, the hives produced a distinct vibration.
If a beekeeper anticipates the queen’s departure, he can set up another well-positioned hive for her to move in to.