I heard what’s often referred to as piping from the bottom of one of my hives today. (Read more about piping at Honey Bee Suite.)
Piping sounds supposedly come from newly emerged queen bees. I requeened this hive back on July 11th. I’m not sure what to think. Perhaps it’s not piping at all. At any rate, I got it on tape:
You might need to crank up your speakers.
March 2019 Postscript: I’ve heard piping from inside my hives many times, and I’m long past thinking it means something is wrong. Most beekeeping books say that piping occurs when a virgin queen emerges from her queen cell and goes on the hunt for other queens or queen cells so she can kill her competition. I guess so, but I haven’t witnessed that yet. In fact, I haven’t been able to connect anything unusual to the sound of piping.
The last time I heard some piping, it was during a normal hive inspection. A could hear a bee piping away, quacking, whatever you want to call it, and I spent minutes holding a frame of bees up in front of my face looking straight at the sound, and I couldn’t see anything. No queen of any kind, mated, virgin, wounded, nothing. No swarm or supersedure cells. Everything normal. Which is what I’ve noticed every time I’ve heard piping from inside the hive. Maybe I’ve heard piping more in the fall when the brood nest is shrinking. But I don’t know.
The other sound I hear is crunching, as if the bees are chewing on the wood inside the hive. I hear that more often in the summer when the population is at its peak. But again, I’m not sure. Should I be concerned when I hear unusual sounds? Maybe, but probably not.