How do you remember what each hive was looking like between inspections? There are tools available to help keep track of things (such as the Hive Inspection Checklist Sheets) but I like to have in depth details too.
Spring has sprung here in NE Ga and things are a little hectic in the bee yard. Making splits, adding brood boxes and honey supers are keeping this beekeeper busy. There are many things I am checking, observing and doing for the hives and it can be difficult to remember it all.
In order to remember what was going on in each of my hives between inspections or even from season to season I find it helpful to use a beekeeping journal.
I record a variety of things in the journal. For example:
All hives have a Beginning History Page.
- Hive origin (did it start as a split, a package, a Nuc or a swarm?)
- The date I received/created the hive
- The location the hive came from
- A name for the queen or a hive number
My notes reflect what stage the hive is in. Such as:
- A Nuc being moved to a bigger box
- Adding the second brood box
- Adding supers
- Manipulating frames
- Did I split the hive
- Did I boost the hive
- When I pull honey
I also write down observations about each hive. Like:
- Activity on the porch
- If pollen is being brought in
- The sound of the hive
- The smell of the hive
- Dead bees in front of the hive
- Thoughts on the hive inspection
When inspecting it is important to get in and out fast. If you are using a beekeeping journal you may want to:
- Have an extra person with you to write it all down (my mom does this for my dad and brother)
- Try remembering everything and record it after closing the hive (this is impossible for me!)
- Video record or audio record the inspection to transcribe later (you may even find some bad beekeeper habits if you video the inspection!)
I love to share information about honeybees. I spoke to students in grades 3-8 during their art class and we had a Honeybee Art Competition. The winner received the honor of their picture being the cover for The Farm @ 1115 Bee Journal 2015. The prestige goes to Charlie A. He is an amazing and talented young man in the eighth grade. Many thanks Charlie!