Swarming Signal Detected in Real Time with EyesOnHives

It’s not every day we get to discover something amazing about honeybees, humans have kept them for thousands of years.  But over the last 3 weeks we have detected the ‘swarming signal’ on hives swarming all over town.

Here’s the timelapse video of the third hive detected to be swarming, where the bees actually clustered underneath the hive, confirming the swarm.

If it were a one off, we’d just have one datapoint, but of 12 full sized hives monitored in California for over the last month, in the last 2 weeks, 7 have swarmed.  All with a very similar activity pattern and timing!

Check out the amazing consistency in the swarming pattern between these hives:

Left Hive Swarming Daily EyesOnHives

Right Hive Swarming 11am

Tom and Kathy Swarming 10:30am

Curtis Cast Swarm 10:14am

We know this is different to Orientation Activity

We have been monitoring these hives for over a year, and many others that have joined the EyesOnHives Platform.

Not only do these hives all typically have their orientation spike in between 12-3pm presently, the left hive EyesOnHives video actually captured the swarm cluster underneath the hive.


with EyesOnHives, swarming can be detected in real time,

and beekeepers can get alerted


EyesOnHives was also able to automatically alert some of the beekeepers in real time to the swarming events taking place, and they confirmed visually.


Here’s the Swarming Data

Hive Swarm Time Date Observed Swarming Peak BPS Avg Peak BPS Cluster Seen By Beek Geographic Region
1  10:55am Mar 4  100.74 ~20  Seen by EyesOnHives Santa Barbara
4 11:04am Mar 16 139.06 ~30 No, Signal Only Santa Barbara
8 10:32am Mar  8 89.26 ~25 No, Signal Only Tustin
9  10:22am Feb 27 157.14 ~35 Yes, Signal and Beek Montecito
9  10:14am Mar 9 174.11 ~35 Yes, Cast Swarm  Montecito
15 10:15am Feb 25 76.41 ~15 No, Signal Only Santa Barbara
 18 10:44am Mar 17 231.66 ~35 No, Signal Only Santa Barbara

This data is incredible since as far as we know, this is the first time swarming can be detected in real time, and beekeepers can get alerted.

So how can we detect this is swarming?

Through a combination of experience and algorithms, EyesOnHives is being trained to detect swarming.  Presently a beekeeper can set an alert for a certain “bees per second” activity threshold.

In all of the swarming cases, the BPS was approximately three times the magnitude of regular peak orientation activity, and it occurred before midday.  This is a real signature pattern.

Check out how much the swarming events stand out from the regular peak activity:

Left Hive Swarming

Right Hive Swarming Signal Peak

Tom and Kathy Swarming


Real time swarm detection with EyesOnHives is a huge breakthrough in smart hive monitoring.

EyesOnHives can clearly detect a swarm as it is happening, and alert the beekeeper.  This creates a feedback loop for bee hive management, as well as potentially an opportunity for a beekeeper to capture the swarm before it leaves.

We have also shown that the swarming time is consistent between hives in a similar geographic region, and that beekeepers previously didn’t always know their hive had swarmed.

We will set out to publish our results in a bee journal, and continue development of predictive and learning algorithms to leverage the world leading dataset on the EyesOnHives platform.

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