Microclimate conditions before swarming.

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Microclimate conditions before swarming.

I am looking for any recent swarming event in the HiveTool database which depict the temperature and weight variations to use in my research.

Any help would be appreciated.


Paul's picture
Swarm data

I'd like to introduce Nirmal, an undergraduate student of Electronics and Communications
Engineering from India. He is not a beekeeper, but involved in a project related to instrumentation in beekeeping.

He needs to know which hives have swarmed and approximate dates if possible. It would be good to have a tool that searches the database for the signature of a swarm and locates them automatically.

On hivetool.org I try to flag the swarm records with a quality=6 in the quality column of the HIVE_DATA table, but have only marked one or two swarms. The graphing program knows not to throw them away when the NASA weight filter it turned on.

Also, Nirmal, Please see: Hivetool Data Download ver 0.2 page:


Sorry SQL format is not working yet.

Swarm Data

Hi Paul,
I have gone through the HiveTool Data Download ver 0.2 page, I'm not able make sense of the data there.
In the hives I've looked through, I found that the weight variations flagged were probably due to beekeeper interventions since the data before and after the weight drop was atleast 2 hours apart.

Any guidance on how to approach looking at the data in case I have not done so properly would be helpful.

I guess I'll look at the one or two hives that you have marked as swarming. Please leave a link.

Thank You,

Welcome Nirmal

Welcome Nirmal,

looking forward to seeing what your scientific skills can bring..... What Part of India are you located?????


Thanks for the welcome

I am located in the southern region of India, in Bangalore City.

Small World

I have a large team that works for me... they are in Bangalore Electronic City ....


Indeed, a small world.

Team, you say?
Working on Apiary Tech?


Swarm Data

I came across this today morning, http://hivetool.org/db/hive_stats.pl?chart=Temp%2FHumidity&new_hive_id=5...

I'm thinking it's swarming.
Does anyone think otherwise?


What triggers the weight....

I could be totally wrong here... and I don't want to discourage the support of Nirmal.... I thinks it pretty cool to have an outside perspective from someone who isn't in the middle of what can't BE....

If I'm correct in looking at this graph 4/27/2017 the hive was at 75 Kilograms it dropped to 45 KG...... that's 30 Kilograms of weight change in
a short amount of time... 1 Kilogram = 2.2 lbs.... to the drop of 30 Kilograms is approx 66 pounds. 10,000 bees in a 3-pound package a good hive has approx 30,000 - 90000 bees in the hive... if my math hold up here 66 x 10k = 660,000 bees... I suspect this is one deep hive box or one deep super with honey removed... otherwise this it a huge swarm...

If we look at the 30 days after the weight change we see an increase from 4/29 thru 5/25 it's 4-5 kilogram or 10 pounds increase in mass ... If the queen swarmed with the hive I would expect a new queen to emerge. There would not be an immediate increase in weight. If the new queen lays 1500 eggs per day hatching in 21 days the hive would begin to gain weight at .45 pounds per day this doesn't quite match the charts....that's a breeding recovery cycle hard to imagine to gain 4-5 kilos or 8-10 pounds in less than 30 days .... to me is appears a box was removed and the hive continued to store honey from 4/2/ - 5/25 ( Again I made a supposition the old queen swarmed and a new queen emerged..)

I also ran another report from 9/7/2016 thru 5/29/2017 and you can see a similar event several months earlier I attached a file from a few screen shots of these findings.. notice there are several large spikes downward... to me this is the bee keeper pulling off boxes for inspection and re-stacking them in a short time..

Nirmal.... excellent work to poll the community.... if say 1/2 of the hive swarms what would the theoretical weight be? then write an SQL query for that range...

I suggest getting a range of weights that trigger events these cause dramatic changes in weight added empty or removed

Colony strength 10k -100k bees = 3 pounds to 30 pounds of bees ( note no one is going to count this many bees)

8 or 10 Frame Deep Frame and drawn comb no honey then approx with honey supers full....
8 or 10 Frame Medium Frame and drawn comb no honey then approx with honey supers full....
8 or 10 Frame Shallow Frame and drawn comb no honey then approx with honey supers full....

I don't own 10 Frame Deeps... However I can tell you this

8 Frame box = 7 pounds
8 Frames drawn comb approx 1 pound each = 8ish pounds
8 Frame box with 8 Frames of Honey weighed between 40 to 68 pound ... I just pulled 5 boxes for extraction July 4th

Honey super Full is pretty close to this drop you see of 30 KG or 66 pounds.... also this sudden drop in weight or downward spike points to s sudden loss in a few minutes not a slow migration of the bees out of the hive onto a near by tree.....

None of these weights anyone will provide will be exact instead it will be an approx range......

I am just about to put my scales online in August

This was probably to much to put in one posting.... however I wanted to give my 2 cents of effort.....

The next dimension to your question is weight- temperature in/outside- humidity in/outside to me these three are the key indicators to your micro climate questions..... go back a look at how constant the temperature was thru the event approx 33 C or 91F... this indicates constant regulation of temperature by the bees.... however if you look at other date ranges you can begin to pick out the anomalies.... erratic temperature swings look at say the range 9/7/206 thru 12/25/2016 , then focus on month of November 2016 it appears a drop in weight and a drop in temperature or regulation.... (i'm not saying this was a swarm but a lose in temperature control by the colony I also noted the swing in humidity starting Oct 2016 is this honey production with the bees drying out moisture or another factor?)

I think it would be incredible to add a 4th variable of a microphone for sound to add another key element to that state of the hive's temperament and mode of operation... calm buzz everything is in control...

PS super work please keep it going...

I don't have anyone working in your field... I have about 60 engineers in Bangalore.... we design lots of interesting things...




Static Hive

I wanted to also provide a reference point here... What would a controlled experiment look like

I have a test hive sitting outside in the sun to observe it's daily drift in weight ( approx .5 - 1 pound).....

Note : NO Bees are in this hive only boxes with static weight approximately 49 pounds.

I attached a graph the chart show one big spike downward.... I removed some weight 8/26 to perform a measurement. The few spikes upwards are tools set on the top of the hive while i was working....

Note1 humidity swings with sunlight and temperature.

Note 2 there has been no change in the boxes and the drift has been interesting to observe...from 49.5 pounds to 48.5.. I'm not sure what happened on the last 24 hours with the big move upwards to 49.5 and back to 49.

Note 3 Temperature kind of followed the sunlight

Note 4 Humidity was opposite of the outdoor temperature.



Oh goodness

Hope we didn't' run the help away......


Tight Schedule.

Hi David,

I'm currently under a lot of work load from school. Will read through it and reply.


Paul's picture
Swarm List

Here are swarms that I have found so far by looking through my emails. I can send you emails of these discussions with the beekeeper's comments if you like.

On the second page of http://hivetool.net/hive_reports/20140331.pdf is a description of SC006 on March 27, 2014.

From http://hivetool.net/hive_reports/20140414.pdf hive Doppelbienen swarmed on April 8th 2014 (page 3). Also note that SC006 swarmed 3 times and aborted a swarm once (page 2).

From http://hivetool.net/hive_reports/20140630.pdf hive Pella swarmed on June 29, 2014. Beekeeper Rob:

Hive MissBeeHaven May 1st and May 6th 2014. The first one was a confirmed swarm. The second one probably was too.

June 12th 2014 Hive SC006 confirmed swarmed.

March 25, 2015 Hive Doppelbienen swarmed confirmed by beekeeper.

From http://hivetool.net/hive_reports/20160307.pdf hive Bob's Alpha 1 swarmed on March 4, 2016 (but some bees came back) then (from email), a confirmed 6 lb swarm on March 8

April 16th and April 24th 2016 SC008 swarmed.

From http://hivetool.org/d/node/82 hive Emil swarmed May 10th 2016.

From email, hive Pace Bees August 26, 2017 confirmed swarm.

From Enrico's email, hive BEE-SIDE02 (2018):
>April 06 h12:46 - Main swarming (1.87kg)
>April 14 h11:16 - Second swarming (0.98kg)
>April 16 h10:56 - Third swarming (0.77kg)
>April 19 h11:31 - Fourth swarming (0.67kg)

Paul's picture
Using the NASA processing option to locate swarms

I'm really looking for a SQL query to locate swarms but in the meantime, try using the NASA Honey Bee Net processing option on the Download Data Form. This processing and format is used to send weight change data (daily delta) to that project. It will filter out manipulation changes (and swarms, too, if you are not careful) by throwing out weight changes (dw/dt) greater than a threshold.

Here is the output for hive SC006 2014 with the Weight Threshold set to 20 lbs/hour (.33 lbs/min or 1.66 lbs per 5 minute sample)

I believe the -12.1 drop on 3-27, -6.2 on 4-8 , -1.4 on 4-11 are the swarms documented in the previous list. This would appear to work for large swarms, but small swarms might get lost in the noise (losses caused by evaporation, humidity swings).

2014-03-25,84, 124.0, 258.3, -2.0 << Not swarm
2014-03-26,85, 123.6, 258.3, -0.4
2014-03-27,86, 111.5, 258.3, -12.1 << Swarm
2014-03-28,87, 110.1, 257.0, -0.1
2014-03-29,88, 109.0, 257.0, -1.1
2014-03-30,89, 108.3, 257.0, -0.7
2014-03-31,90, 108.9, 257.0, 0.6
2014-04-01,91, 109.4, 257.0, 0.5
2014-04-02,92, 109.7, 257.0, 0.3
2014-04-03,93, 108.8, 257.1, -1.0
2014-04-04,94, 108.5, 257.1, -0.3
2014-04-05,95, 107.8, 257.1, -0.7
2014-04-06,96, 107.0, 257.1, -0.8
2014-04-07,97, 107.3, 257.1, 0.3
2014-04-08,98, 101.0, 257.1, -6.2 << Swarm
2014-04-09,99, 102.2, 257.1, 1.1
2014-04-10,100, 103.6, 257.1, 1.4
2014-04-11,101, 102.2, 257.1, -1.4 << Swarm
2014-04-12,102, 103.1, 257.1, 0.9
2014-04-13,103, 103.5, 257.1, 0.4
2014-04-14,104, 103.5, 257.1, 0.0
2014-04-15,105, 101.8, 257.1, -1.7 << not Swarm
2014-04-16,106, 102.4, 257.1, 0.6
2014-04-17,107, 101.7, 257.1, -0.7
2014-04-18,108, 101.4, 257.1, -0.3
2014-04-19,109, 100.5, 257.1, -0.9
2014-04-20,110, 99.9, 257.1, -0.6

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