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Queen piping: listen!

Want to hear what the queen has to say? James Graham sent the following two short clips of queens piping in his top-bar hive. He said his bees swarmed about a week ago, and he believes these piping queens are the potential heirs.

The first clip is short. The second is longer, with a silent portion in the middle. In either case, crank up your volume to hear them clearly.

Thanks, Jim! Very cool.

Queen piping James Graham

Queen piping 2 James Graham

Related Post:

Piping, quacking, and tooting: It’s a queen thing

Comments

Anthony
Reply

Hi Rusty,
Unbelievable!!!! Was just asked about this on
Saturday, so beautiful, Nature!!!!
Thanks!
Tonybees.

AramF
Reply

Sounds like the piping is happening through the cell wall, or is being muffled by the hive. I have never ever heard it sound like this, although the periodic nature of the call is very similar. It is usually more high pitched without a barking quality of this recording.

I am now hatching queens daily and adding them to the mating nucs. The first thing carni queens like to do is to pipe close to the comb upon release. Italians do too, but not nearly as often.

I am only mentioning this in case people hear something else and are confused by it. In the open air it should be something like a long buzz followed by a short ones after that. Beeeeeez buz buz buz. Often the sequence is repeated multiple times, until she is satisfied that there is no competition around.

Rusty
Reply

Aram,

My queens sound just like this recording, but mine are inside the hive as well.

Are you grafting your queens?

Andy Kingman
Reply

Have to say that it sounds like dogs barking but will be recognisable now I have heard it, will send in the mobile phone before opening in future.
Great articles, keep them coming.

Andy

Bruce
Reply

Thank you for sharing. I had no idea bees could make any sound but buzz. Awesome!
I have inherited my bees from my dad who has kept bees for over 40 years. Swarming was something that was dreaded and avoided at all costs, but I get the feeling from your posts that it is ok to let them swarm. Is it better to let them swarm and hope they move into your swarm trap or split them manually?

Rusty
Reply

Bruce,

Swarming is a form of reproduction. Only healthy, vibrant colonies swarm so it indicates you are doing something right. However, losing that many bees is no fun because it certainly lowers your honey production. Also, if you live near other people, swarming bees can annoy or frighten the neighbors, something you don’t want to do.

I always think it best to proactively split so you can avoid losing the bees. It doesn’t always work. Yesterday, I went to split a hive and just as I got there, it swarmed. Really annoying.

At any rate, try to prevent losing your swarm if you can, but think of a swarmy colony as one that is doing well and doing what bees are designed to do. Then work with the swarm, not against it.

Carl
Reply

Hi Rusty, great clips! By what method do the queens produce this sound? Is it wing buzz, or leg rub, or something else? I also have a clip of piping queens in my hive, shall I share it? If so, how should I send it?

Rusty
Reply

Carl,

I don’t know how they make their sound; I will have to look it up.

AramF
Reply

Rusty,

Have been grafting since early April, so far so good. The method by which the sound is made is by vibrating their wings and letting them hit each other in the middle. If you look at the bee from the top, imagine the wings moving away from the body and them come toward the middle, with no up and down motion. If the queen lowers herself to the comb, then it projects the sound further. All movement ceases when she does the piping. This is the sound I hear when mine pipe: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AYecvVhkpKI. As you can see, sounds a lot more higher pitched.

Rusty
Reply

Aram,

Thank you so much! I learned something.

Kerry
Reply

Hi amazing, I thought that geese were flying overhead when I first heard it. It does also sound like dogs barking in the background. I must go and see if I can hear my bees : )

Vicki
Reply

Are you all absolutely sure that the barking noise is a queen that is tooting/piping? I, like a few others that have posted, have only heard that high pitched long note, followed sometimes by shorter pulsing-type high pitched notes. The bark sound and the high pitch sound are so different that I have to wonder if they are really the results of the same phenomena.

Rusty
Reply

Vicki,

Yes. Absolutely sure. Recall that queens make different noises depending where they are (in the cell vs running on the frame) and what they are trying to communicate. Not only the pitch, but also the length can be different. Because the sounds are so varied, many words have been applied to describe them: tooting, barking, quacking, chirping, piping, clucking, and many others. In any case, you know what it is when you hear it.

Rich
Reply

I just had a hearing test a few weeks ago. With only my laptop speakers, this was another. Cool sound, though. Also, I appreciate the explanation by AramF.

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