Apivox Smart Monitor project

The idea of the project was born in 2015 after studying the materials of the scientific section of European Commission and works of authoritative scientists and beekeepers about the importance of possibility to control the state of bees without interfering with their lives. I have seen project reports on the European Commission's web site, that were funded by the European Union and tried in vain to get usable results. This prompted me to develop my own device for acoustic control of bee colonies - that is, to monitor the state of the bees basing on their sounds, without interfering with their life. This method allow us to control bee colonies both locally and remotely.

At the beginning the project development was based on the works of Russian scientists. Smartphones were chosen as the carrier of the software product, which, in fact, have all the necessary devices to fulfill our task: an input device - a microphone, processor and memory for processing and storing data, and information output device - a screen.

The next task which I had to solve, was how to get the frequency distribution of signals and to turn them into a form convenient for data analysis. For this, a unique algorithm was developed based on the classical Fourier transform method, which made it possible to obtain data of very good quality, regardless of the strength of the bee colony and the strength of acoustic signals.

The next step was the development of the program and, most importantly, the part of it, which is responsible for the interpretation of the results, obtained by the transducer of acoustic signals. And here the problem arose. The very first tests showed, that all the studies carried out in the 20th century in Russia and Britain, and all conclusions drawn by scientists do not correspond to the events actually taking place in the hive. I had to start my own research on the behavior of bees and the analysis of the entire spectrum of sound signals of the bees, which they emit during their life. This work took two years. Theoretical part was based on the works of world-famous American and European scientists, who carried out work on the study of bees and touched our topic. All scattered results were collected and a new theory of acoustic control was created based on the sum of scientific results. All these theories were tested using the first modification of our app - Apivox Auditor, and formed the basis of new app - Apivox Smart Monitor, which has been successfully operating in apiaries for already two years, and constantly confirms the correctness of the ideas, put into its basis.

More detailed information about the device and the process of its development can be obtained on the device website apivox-smart-monitor.weebly.com and in the book "Questions of Bioacoustics - the Bees", which can be ordered from us.

A short story about the device and the acoustic control system
From studies of biologists working in different areas, it is known, that the “language” of all animals is very limited, and is a set of sounds that have different meanings in different situations. And the task of these signals is mainly to draw attention to the position or actions of the individual issuing the signal.

Bees also make sounds and create vibrations. This is a part of their "language". There are also tactile contacts and pheromones. But the man has begun to listen to the bees, and to try to understand them long time ago. Ear, stethoscope, Apidictor and finally the device named Apivox Smart Monitor

The mechanism of the creation of vibro-acoustic signals by the bees and their perception are already well studied. There are some situations in which vibro-acoustic signals are used - during the dance of foragers (this is the most famous and prominent example), during the "singing" of the queens and the "singing" of worker bees. But so far, there has not been a coherent theory of how the bees use these sounds and vibrations, their significance in various situations is not known, and their exact parameters are not well known. The system of constructing of these vibro-acoustic signals is not known too.

The Apivox project went precisely along this path. We went on the way of trying to understand, how the signals of bees are arranged, and what they mean in different specific situations. Four years of researches and tests, a bunch of analytical studies were conducted. It was created the device, named Apivox Auditor. It is allowed to begin instrumental research of sounds of bees. With its help, we accumulated new information, the analysis of which led to the creation of a new theory of vibro-acoustic communications in bees. It has become a part of the Manual for the device, and everyone can read and download it on our Website.

The fact that in the development of the device was involved a former military engineer - developer of electronic technologies, the specifics of which was signal processing, led to the development of the technical basis for the analysis of sounds of living beings, including the bees. It became clear, why no one could get clean and clear signals from the bees, and could not analyse them correctly - the true signals from bees are very short. The fact is, that the signal of bee lasts less than a half second. And when they are studied with the help of Fourier algorithms, arise effects, with which are fighting experts in combat radio-location systems! Moreover, it is the fact, that the set of signals, which was considered to be the “language” of bees, turned out to be a set of heating, ventilation, and other " technical" signals. And all this was taken into account in the further work on the Apivox bees signals analysis algorithms.

The new theory and its verification led us to an understanding of what scientists and the developer of the first device, Eddie Woods, could previously only guess about.

  • That the ventilation signals can provide information about the state of the colony and its work on honey collection.
  • That the signals that Woods called "Singing of Beehive" are actually not emitted by unemployed bees, but by bees, caring for open brood.
  • That these signals really become much more before swarming, as before swarming the colony should increase its power and so, to increase the amount of brood.
  • That these signals actually become more with a loss of the queen, as the bees increase the care for the remaining open brood, before laying new queen cells. They need a lot of larvae and in different places, and therefore the entire open brood for the colony is of great value. This is why the care for open brood is rapidly increasing...
  • It became known that this signal in the normal colony has a cyclical nature, and with loss of the queen, when working bees begin to lay unfertilized eggs, the signal keeps constantly, although it has less power. This signal is emitted by the bees, who care for the larvae of future drones which are many and scattered randomly across all the frames ...
  • That there are signals directly related to the heating of the nest and the entire hive. They were considered to be the signals of passive bees, as they are emitted by worker bees, which are almost inconspicuous, and are sitting at the bottom of the frames, outside the brood zone ...
  • That it is this signal, that becomes the main before swarming, when the bees begin to heat the entire hive so that the queen can lay as many eggs as possible wherever possible, including in the queen cells scattered across different frames. So, exactly this signal, became the main marker of close swarming.
  • That there is an emergency heating signal when the bees are struggling to restore the temperature in the nest or winter cluster. Sometimes this signal can be seen in summer in a weak offshoots, in which there are too few bees for warming the brood and queen cells in the ordinary way.
  • Understanding how and why the bees warm the nest, especially before swarming, at the moment when the bees begin to prepare for laying the queen cells, gave clear understanding of the need of warming the hives at this particular time, in order to give the colony possibility to use early honey harvest. After all, only old flight bees torn from the honey collection for this purpose, are engaged in heating the hive.
In addition to all this, was formed a harmonious classification of true communicational signals of bees, which they use mainly when working on honey collection: These are groups of communicational signals — signals of bees scouting forages, signals of foraging bees calling others to a source of nectar, signals of bees discharging nectar, signals of recruits, which are ready to become foragers, the "chanting" of worker bees or foragers, who could not wait more for discharge of nectar, and calling for bees-receivers. These are marker signals indicating what bee is doing or a cluster of bees doing. It is the marker signals, in our opinion, that make it possible to organize better the group work of bees, which strictly depend on their age. Analyzing such signals, the bee turns on its decision-making algorithm and analyze if she can take part in this work according to her age, or not ...

Studying these signals, we learned to single out the groups of signals, which are of interest to us and, on their basis, to qualify the essential state of the bee colony - the presence of in-hive works or works on honey collection. We learned to understand their relative strength. Analytical studies were carried out, that gave an understanding of the best place to take measurements at different times of the year, and the best time to take measurements that allow you to understand the condition of the colony.

All this formed the basis of the new version of our app - in Apivox Smart Monitor app. In this device ( or app), in addition to the well-proven modes - the General State Control mode, the Swarming Control mode, and the modes used when replacing the queen, new modes useful for practical beekeepers were added... These are - the Brood Control mode for checks in the spring and autumn, and the Readiness for Commodity Honey Collection Control mode, to check the working condition of the colony in the summer. All these modes has expanded the capabilities of the device and allowed to make comprehensive control of the colonies, using several modes, which allow to look at the situation from different sides ...In order to have such possibilities, there were made seven different modes, and their winter version.

We can refer to many examples and to show video films, accumulated over the years of researches, but you can do this by yourself. All of them are freely available. All methods of analyzing the state of colonies and examples of inspections are described in the Manual for the device. And you can watch it in Internet or download it from our web page and read it.

The Apivox Smart Monitor app is made for smartphones based on the Android operating system and this limits its use to those who ue iOS based smartphones, i.e., iPhone owners. But, this year, Apivox' algorithms were tested on recordings of the sounds of colonies of bees. We worked remotely with the apiary, located in Argentina. The result was excellent. Properly recorded sound provides enough information for qualitative analysis, and for issuing of adequate recommendations to the beekeeper in near real time in any end of the World. This opportunity formed the basis of the System of Remote Diagnostics, developed by us, which is now used in test mode and is waiting for interested people for further development.

Once again I want to emphasize that Apivox Smart Monitor is just a device, and not a beekeeper's substitute. Its task - is to give you the facts, that you can not see without opening the hive, and sometimes are not visible even if you open it. After all, even if you open a hive 2-3 weeks before swarming, you will not know that the process has already begun, or if you open a hive of a perfectly flying colony, you will not understand that it works only for itself and not for you, because it has too much brood, which it is necessary to feed and warm ... And so on, and so far ...

So Apivox will give you the facts. Their further interpretation is already a business of the beekeeper - your business. The point of your mind, knowledge and experience. We give you the Manual - and this is already very much, but the basis of understanding what is happening in the bee colony is the level of general theoretical and practical knowledge of the beekeeper, is his ability, basing on the facts given by the device, to build a complete picture of the condition and needs of the bee colony, which he check.

Apivox Smart Monitor app can always be purchased through our main site or dealer. And the price for years of researches and tests is almost symbolic. Apart from this, it is possible to collectively connect to the Remote Diagnostics System, on the basis of a separate agreement.

So, we expect that the progressive ideas will finally look into beekeeping science, and will lead it on the path of real protection and preservation of bees on our planet.

The development of APIVOX AUDITOR began in spring of 2015 with selection of scientific papers related to the topic of acoustic control. As it turned out, there was not a lot of information on the topic. Most of the work were done by scientists from the United States and several works were from Russia.



The whole summer the materials were studied and testing was conducted with the usage of conventional spectrum analyzer. But the results were mediocre enough, although they confirmed that the signals really exists, and they are divided into several main groups. The change of signals during the day was checked too. In September 2015, the direct development of algorithms and the coding of the program began. In November 2015 began the verification of parts of the program for possibility of work with test and real signals. 2016
The following tests were conducted in January 2016. Were checked Monitoring mode and General State Control mode. The development of the program in its first form was completed. Now it was required to carry out mass measurements, in order to understand the correctness of the algorithms and the visibility of results on the screen of the device. But how can this be done? After all, in Russia it was winter... It was decided to continue working in Spain. Spring and honey harvest in Spain begin already in January-February. Therefore, our research moved 5000 kilometers in the direction of South-West.
At first, our measurements took place at the urban apiary in Tarragona. Here it was possible to check the state of the colonies, associated with the swarming of the bees. Almost all hives had swarm queen cells. Here, when testing the device in the Swarming Control mode, we realized, that there is an intermediate state when the bees subside after the laying of the queen cells. The device had to take this into account too.... Then we moved to a small apiary, placed far in the mountains in the province of Priorat, famous for its red wines. Here the bees worked on the flowers of rosemary. The work was weak. Here was tested the General State Control mode.
The next testing was carried out on the apiary, where the were reared the queens of Iberian bee breed. It was situated in the province of Tarragona close to the river Ebre valley. Were checked Swarming Control mode, Monitoring mode and General State Control mode. The next place of testing became the apiary in the valley of river Ebre, on which were placed nucleuses with young queens. Here, the results of our measurements confirmed that the size of the colony does not matter for proper diagnosis of the General Condition of the colony, thanks to our algorithm of isolating the useful components of the signal .
The commodity apiary, located next to the blossoming oranges in the valley of the river Ebre became the next place of our tests. Here we tested General State Control mode and the Swarming Control mode. This last mode gave very good results - three out of four diagnostics turned out to be correct. Testing of Acceptance control mode has shown, that the algorithm needs to be changed. The next place of testing was a commodity apiary, which colonies of bees were actively working on honey collection in mandarin gardens in the province of Alicante. Here it was possible to obtain results, characterizing the high flying activity of colonies. Only the General State control mode was tested.
Information was enough to correct the program and improve some of the modes. Improvements have affected Monitoring mode and the General State Control mode. Was improved the Readiness to Accept control mode. New literature on the topic was studied. By the time of completion of works on correction of the program, the spring had moved to Russia. Now it become possible to study the Swarming Control mode and to remove queens from the colonies in order to test Readiness to Accept and Acceptance Control modes, already there. In Spain began the summer heat.
The first tests of the device in the Readiness Control mode showed, that the signal exists, but the program needs to be altered, in order to reliably fix the "hive singing" signal. The program was adjusted, and testing of the device with a new program and new capabilities began. In particular, with the new graph of the signal change.
The next stage of testing was held in the apiary of the Russian Scientific Research Institute of Beekeeping in Rybnoye, Ryazan. The task was to obtain a large number of measurements in Monitoring mode and in General State Control mode during a weak honey harvest. During these tests we found out the presence of passive bees in the bee colony during work of the colony on honey collection. This situation was was documented and scientifically explained... All the further summer and autumn the device was tested in Readiness Control mode and Acceptance Control mode, as well as in Monitoring mode and General State Control mode. The last correction was successful. There were several direct replacements of the queens with good results. There were obtained video materials that formed the basis of many films.


In the late autumn the device was tested in Winter variant of General State Control mode. Testing continued at the apiary of Russian Scientific Research Institute of Beekeeping, where it was possible to test three groups of wintering bees in the premises and on the street. As a result of testing, the program was improved in winter variant of General State Control mode. Based on the results of the tests, there were made recommendations on monitoring during winter time.
In June we conducted a pilot tests of usage of the device for control of bee colony in urban conditions. The results were excellent. The control did not cause attack by the bees. The results were very interesting. Further on, during the whole summer were conducted tests with different types of microphones in different modes of work.
In general, the summer and autumn of 2017 were devoted to improvements in the capabilities of the device in Monitoring mode the General State Control mode, regarding the diagnosis of problems with the queen, monitoring the working conditions of bees. Studies began on the possibility of controlling the number of brood in the colonies. Another visit to the apiary of Russian Scientific Research Institute of Beekeeping helped to collect some additional statistical information.
During the late August honey collection, a study was made of a set of signals accompanying the work on the bringing and processing of honey. In late autumn of 2017, we began testing of colonies in winter mode. The bees were placed on the street in the pavilion...


In February and March 2018, we monitored the colonies, hibernating outdoors in the pavilion, using wired microphones embedded in the hives in autumn. Were revealed some features of control of different bee breeds in cold weather conditions. In March, we began tests, the purpose of which was to determine the relative number of brood in bee colonies. These studies became possible after a serious theoretical study, based on the researches of European scientists. Preliminary results showed the possibility of such diagnosis in principle.
In the end of April the tests aimed to definition the possibility of diagnosis of the number of brood in the bee colony continues. Tests showed the result, but the result depends not only on the amount of brood, but also on the strength of the colony and the strength of the honey collection, and on how the colony use it. The whole May was devoted to obtaining new data on the use of the device in Swarming Control mode. As always, the device showed a propensity for the beginning of swarming process at the stage of construction by bees of swarming queen cups.
In addition, tests have been conducted on the replacement of the fertile queen by the capped queen cell, using Readiness control mode and Acceptance Control mode. The result was quite good, as always. An important test was conducted in order to determine the presence of the queen in one of two parts of the colony after its division in half. The location of the queen was determined with high accuracy.
In our small workshop, we are making transparent observational hive in order to conduct studies on the correspondence of acoustic signals to certain actions of bees. We hope, that it will be possible to make broadcast of bees everyday life and their everyday signals from this hive, to our Facebook account. At the end of July, once more time a series of tests using the hive with glass walls was conducted. These tests showed the possibility of determining the kind of work performed by the bees, according to the sounds emitted by working bees. During experiments was obtained a clear separation of the signals in the brood zone and in the honey processing zone of the nest. Based on the data obtained in the transparent hive, as well as thanks to the results of other observations, was developed a new theory of communication of bees using vibro-acoustic signals.
In the first days of August, with the help of new version of the program "APIVOX SMART MONITOR" was carried out testing of all colonies of experimental apiary. During this testing, according to our opinion, was confirmed the possibility of correctness of our new theory of communications in bees... In September we worked with our observation hive and the rest of experimental colonies. And we've got some new results....  

In September, we analyzed sound recordings from two different hives, using different modes of the Apivox Smart Monitor. On the picture you can see the appearance of two sound signals, recorded at intervals of several minutes in two different hives on a warm sunny day at the end of August. In our opinion and hearing, these signals are distinguished only by the fact that the first signal is somewhat weaker. We are not able to understand other differences. But we conducted an inspection of these colonies, and know that their condition is different. So, for the beginning, we use the main control mode - Control of the General State. We will carry out control on a long interval of measurement. We get the result. Measurements in the General Condition Monitoring Mode and in the Readiness for Honey collection Control Mode showed significant differences in the condition of colonies. One of them is busy with providing its survival, the other is actively working on honey collection. The result is absolutely correct. One colony - queenless offshoot with 4 frames of brood, and without bees which can fly for nectar collection, the second - a offshoot with young queen, which works well and later, gave 20 kilograms of honey.

In October we conducted one more experiment, with the main goal - to control vibro-acoustic signals of bees in the state of the wintering, as well as signals which appear in the process of transition of bees' colony to the active state. In addition, there was elaborated, the procedure of assistance to the bees' colony during wintering period, with its shifting to the active state, with careful monitoring of the acoustic background of the colony, and after the bees could change place and get food, with subsequent return to the state of hibernation. All parameters of the bees state were controlled, from the phase of beginning of active works and ventilation, till shifting the bees to the passive state after they did all needed works. We could observe the work of the queen and her retinue... and care on brood... And after all, slow transfer to the state of hibernation. The technique of help for wintering colony has fully justified itself. Moreover, it was once again checked and fixed the composition of the signals, accompanying the transition of the colony to the active state, similar to the spring one, when the sun begins to warm the hives.
At the same time, we made our best for popularization of the app and the method of acoustic control in the international beekeeping community. It was written a lot of articles in the scientific journal of the European community. We worked with beekeepers from the United States and Romania.

Beekeeping magazines has published a couple of new articles with materials of our work. https://www.beeculture.com


December were devoted to theoretical work. Our communication theory has been substantially refined and new hypotheses were formulated... All this will allow us to improve our application. It is possible that thanks to our new ideas, next year we will be able to make a new mode for beekeepers engaged in queen rearing & breeding.

Graduated from the Faculty of Electronics and Computer Science. He worked at the Scientific Research Institute as a leading engineer-developer of electronic equipment. Specialization of work - signals, their coding, transmission and processing. He worked with audio and video equipment in show business. He worked as a videographer and editing director. More than 30 years of experience in beekeeping. For the last five years he has been working on acoustic control of bee colonies and the development of a new method for combating Varroa mites. He publishes his articles in the Russian magazine "Beekeeping" and in the European network resource CORDIS. The Apivox Smart Monitor application is mentioned in the authoritative American publication on beekeeping - "Bee Culture".

APIVOX PROJECT. A new theory of communication in bees and robotic systems. What is common.
Examples of usage of communicative and marker signals by bees.