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Thread: Keeping Track

  1. #1
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    I know part of everything is good records, but now that I have queens in mating nucs that are laying, that are virgins, that are emerging, that are in the cell finisher, that are in the cell starter, that are in the Jenter box and nucs that are queenless because I shipped them, it's getting difficult to keep track of the state of a given Nuc as far as a cell, a queen, a laying queen, no queen etc. Anyone have a simple system to keep track of everything?

    Also I'm finding it more and more difficult to keep track of where I am on cells because I'm starting a new batch every five days or so. I was bothered all day at work because I was afraid the queens I put in the finisher a week ago Monday would be emerging today and I didn't think to check until I was on my way to work.

    Anyone have a good system to keep track?

  2. #2
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    Gillett, Pennsylvania, USA
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    Post

    is the chart in Brushy Mt catalog something youre looking for??
    (2004 catalog page 32 item #319)

  3. #3
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    I have that. I'm trying to keep track of several things. But one of the big ones right now is "what's in this nuc?" Here's a nuc and maybe I put a queen cell in it yesterday or maybe I put it in five days ago or maybe I put it in two weeks ago. There's a queen, and maybe she emerged yesterday and maybe she emerged two weeks ago. I have to look for eggs to tell which it is. Or maybe I sold that queen three days ago and that nuc is available for another queen cell.

    Surely someone has a good system for this. It's a bit cumbersome trying to number them all and make the notes on the right page.

  4. #4
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    Michael, are you also using a system like the hair roller to confine the virgins? If you are (I do) then some of the pressure is off. I mark which hive (#) has which queens and at what 'age' they are, eggs, larva, sealed, emerged. This is on a calendar. I don't move them till they are ready to emerge or if I'm going to inseminate them then they stay there till the day I do it. I then use a number 6 screen for a queen cage and put her back into the queen less hive. I can do that with a few queens till they start laying then I can introduce them into a normal hive. The number 6 screen lets the workers get to the queen and take care of her since the first day or so after insemination is important to help the sperm migrate. She needs the nurse bees to stimulate her.
    I guess you can set something up with a computer but I have not made that step yet.
    I hope some of this has help you.
    Dan

  5. #5
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    >Michael, are you also using a system like the hair roller to confine the virgins?

    After yesterday's panic, I put hair rollers on all of the cells still in the finisher, yes, but I didn't have them on before. But Still I'd rather have them emerge in the nucs, I think.

    >If you are (I do) then some of the pressure is off. I mark which hive (#) has which queens and at what 'age' they are, eggs, larva, sealed, emerged. This is on a calendar.

    I'm leaning towards getting scraps of Plexiglass and a grease pen and writing all the info on the Plexiglass and leaving it under the brick on top of the nuc. But I keep hoping for something simpler.

    But I could have:

    Queen: (none,black,tiger striped,cell)
    Eggs: (none, some, lots etc.)
    Last done: (put queen cell in etc.)
    Date: (date that was done)
    Next to do: (what needs to be done next, check for emergence, check for eggs, put in cell etc.)
    Date: (when it needs to be done)

    Does that sound practical?

    Anyone have a better idea?

  6. #6
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    There is no doubt that her emerging in a nuc is best but if just for one moment, your at work and one little lady gets out well..... One mommy (queen) per hive is the rule. I rather take that extra minute and put the roller on. Hate to open up a hive (been there done that) and see one nice cell popped open and the rest chewed and killed. To me that was a waist of time and energy for the hive.

    Your system seems like it would work and it seems to have logic to it. I don't think you can get away from writing it down on to something next to each hive. If you wanted to improve you would need a lap top. But then you would still type it into the lap top, hive number and then the comments. If you decided to go home and use the computer there then you would have to keep a diary with the same info and again type it into the computer at home. Think that would be getting to complicated. At least for me.
    Dan

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Danbury,Ct. USA
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    There are 3 positions to a brick on the lid. Paint a couple of surfaces and you can get more. Thats at least 5 things you can say about that hive by positioning the brick. A friend writes on the back of the hive itself with a magic marker. Fancy would be a piece of lucite on a flap,

    Dickm

  8. #8
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    I've been making simple notations in paint marker of the color of queen marking this year, figuring next year will be a different color etc. And that I can paint over it too. But it keeps changing and it's hard to put much information on it.

    I have thought about the brick idea. On end doesn't work real well and that leaves four positions. A 3 1/2" piece of 4 by 4 would give you six statuses and that would be helpful.

    I suppose I have these statuses that I usually concern myself with:

    Queenless
    Virgin Queen (no eggs yet)
    Laying Queen (would indicate the presence of eggs)
    Queen cell
    Possibly queenless
    Laying Worker
    Needs stores or feeding
    Needs room
    Needs more bees (mating nucs)

    How about two cubes?

  9. #9

    Post

    Michael,
    I don't like to use this area of the forum for advertisement, but my home based business makes the "Burkes Ready Date" mating nuc calenders offered by Betterbee. (And the QueenRite Calculators offered by Brushy)
    The 3 by 5 inch weather proof plastic card is stapled to the nuc. When a queen cell is placed in a nuc, one pushpin is set on the date in which she will be LAYING. Another pin is set on the CURRENT status of the nuc. (C=Cell, V=Virgin, L=Laying, X=Queenless, O=Organize the nuc by adding or subtracting bees, or some other manipulation)
    The description in the Betterbee catalog needs be worded differently to let queen rearing beekeepers know how they're used...we're working on that!
    I initially made them for my own use in my own queen yards because I HATED going through nucs unnecessarily. With these calenders, all you need to do is check the status ("L") and grab your queen...NO GUESSING WHATSOEVER!
    Send me a SASE and I will send you a free sample, but if you decide to order, please go through Betterbee. They have them listed on their website. Type in "Ready Date" in their search query. 10 pcs. for $9.75 or 100 pcs. for $75.00
    You could even place one or more calenders on your cell builders to let you know the date you need to REMOVE your cells.
    By the fifth day, I usually place my cells in incubator bars (posted earlier this spring on this forum)to protect them from a renegade queen or early hatch.
    Here's a link to my web page sample of the calender:
    http://www.emeraldridgeapiary.net/ready.html

    Regards,

    Jim


    ------------------
    http://www.emeraldridgeapiary.net

    [This message has been edited by James Burke (edited July 14, 2004).]

    [This message has been edited by James Burke (edited July 14, 2004).]

    [This message has been edited by James Burke (edited July 14, 2004).]

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    That sounds like exactly what I'm looking for. I'm a bit confused as to how one would find it if one did not know the name of the product. I searched through the categories on Betterbee looking for something like that, thinking someone had mentioned it before, but could not find it under queen rearing, nucs, books or hive gadgets. Where else would you put it? I think you should ask Betterbee to put it under queen rearing or maybe hive gadgets. I can see how you could use it for any hive to keep track of the last time a laying queen was spotted or that it needs something done or it's queenless.

    Thanks.

  11. #11

    Post

    Michael,

    Type in "ready date" into the Betterbee catalog search query. You should see the listing for the calenders. The order number for 10 pcs. is "NC1"($9.75) and for 100 pcs. is "NC2" (75.00). I'll get in touch with Bob Stevens to get them catagorized correctly.
    Most likely, large queen rearing operations would have nucs arranged in large banks and would not need individual records, but for the small time beekeeper, they're indispensible since we tend to have nucs at various stages of the process, perhaps right next to the other.
    I used to try to keep track with paper notes in a binder or a zip lock bag with notes on each nuc but it was very time consuming and frustrating...where's my pencil?
    All that is required is two push pins...one on the date in which the queen begins laying and one on the current status of the nuc. Resetting the calender for the next cycle takes only a few seconds.
    Having a pin on the "lay date" also allows you to have a good understanding of how long she's been laying. I absolutely love it when she's only been there a week and has nearly every cell filled!
    Hope this helps.


    Jim



    [This message has been edited by James Burke (edited July 15, 2004).]

  12. #12
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    I did find it by searching on the product name, but I wouldn't have known that if you hadn't told me. Sounds like just what I wanted. I sent you the SASE today.

  13. #13
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    Feb 2004
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    Heavener OK.
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    M.B DO YOU HAVE EXCEL PROGRAM. I HAVE A CHART ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS ENTER THE THE DATE YOU GRAFT AND IT ENTERS THE INFO IN OTHER CELLS AS THE HATCH DAY,MATING DAY LAYING DAY PULL DAY,1 DAY QUEENLESS AND TO PUT IN ANOTHER CELL ECT.IT WILL ENTER THE DATE AND DAY OF THE WEEK MON ,TUE AND SO ON.

  14. #14
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    Feb 2004
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    M.B.
    I USE THE SINGLE BABY NUC BOX I DO MINE IN GROUPS IF MY CELL BAR HAS 20 CELLS I GET 15 FINISH CELLS MAKE YOUR GROUPS OF 15. OR WHAT EVER YOU CASE MAYBE.ABOUT 2 DAYS AFTER I PUT MY CELL IN THE NUC I CHECK EACH ONE OF THEM IT USALLY HATCHES WITH IN 24 HOURS.IF THE CELL WAS UNCAPPED IN THE HATCHING MANNER AND I LIKE TO VISUALLY SEE THE V-Q IF IT IS OK. I DO NOTHING IF CELL NOT HATCHED I UNCAP IT TO SEE FOR SURE, SOME TIMES THE CAPPING SPRINGS SHUT AND THE BEES WILL RESEAL IT AND THERE IS NOTHING IN IT AT ALL OR THE QUEEN HAS DIED FOR SOME REASON OR THEY TORE INTO IT FROM THE SIDE KILLING THE Q ....I WILL PULL OUT THE CELL CUP WITH SOME OF THE WAX ON IT AND STICK IT ON THE LANDING BOARD TO ONE SIDE THE WAX WILL HOLD IT IN PLACE THEN I KNOW THIS NEEDS ANOTHER Q CELL.THEN IN ABOUT 12 DAYS AFTER YOU PUT IN THE RIPE Q CELLS GO BACK TO CHECK FOR A LAYING Q IF LAYING I TAKE THE CELL CUP OUT OF THE NUC WITH SOME WAX ON IT AN STICK IT ON THE TOP IN THE CENTER OF THE LID. NOW I KNOW THIS ONE IS LAYING.WHEN I PULL THE QUEEN OUT STICK THE CELL AT THE CORNER OF THE LID TO SHOW THIS ONE IS QUEENLESS IF ONE IS NEEDING FEED I JUST TURN THE LID UPSIDE DOWN OR LAY A SMALL ROCK ON IT.

  15. #15
    dtwilliamson Guest

    Post

    Just a thought... I saw something in "How To Keep Bees and Sell Honey" by Walter Kelly. I think the book I have is a 1991 edition. There is a system in there that goes on the nuc box. A dail system (with hands like a clock) that shows at a glance the status of the nuc. One hand shows the status ( eg. queenless, laying, cell, empty, etc) and the other hand for the day of the month (numbered around the dial in odd numbers - for space saving). So if you put a queen cell into a hive on the 15th of the month you would put one hand on the 15th and the other hand on "cell". Then you at a glance know roughly when you need to recheck that nuc for a laying queen. You know where they stand without trying to remember and don't have to open a hive to figure it out.

    Sure sounds like a simple system that doesn't require pen and paper or computer or a nuc number or anything. The dail is just made out of laminated cardboard or something similar. You fix it to a nuc and it always stays with that nuc. The only reason I can think of that you would need a number on the nuc is if you were raising different types of queens and needed to differentiate.

    I may try it on a very small scale basis. (2 or 3 nucs)

    Dan

  16. #16
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    So do you MAKE this dial system or is there somwhere you can buy one? I'm going to try the "ready date" system and see how it goes. I assume I could also encode some info in what color tacks I use.

  17. #17
    dtwilliamson Guest

    Post

    Honestly, I don't know if anyone sells it. I just read about it last night and thought it was worth mentioning. It seems easy enough to make. But if you want a ready made system then maybe another option is better.

    I was just going with the simple method. I think the most complicated thing about it would be to MAKE it. (If you can't buy it)!
    One could easily customize the dail to fit their needs.


    Let us know how the "ready date" system works!

    Dan

    [This message has been edited by dtwilliamson (edited July 22, 2004).]

    [This message has been edited by dtwilliamson (edited July 22, 2004).]

  18. #18
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    I thought of a dial with about three hands of different legths and various circles of letters or numbers to represent dates and mutually exclusive statuses, but I didn't want to make it. Maybe it would be worth it, but if the "ready date" system works well enough I probably won't.

    I think you could have one hand for the day of the month (you can assume the month probably), one hand for the queen status (cell, virgin, laying, none, questionable, queenless) and one hand for the hive status (needs feeding, needs more room, needs more bees or brood, or maybe just needs something rearranged, or needs nothing).

    But then I also have the ones with the Jenter box in them, the ones with queen larave (cell starters), the ones with capped queen cells (cell finishers) etc. But they tend to be an exception and could just have a particular colored brick or something to designate them. It's really the mating nucs causing me most of my problems and the next issue is the hives.

    It's nice to be able to mark the hives so you know which needs what next trip. I have tried notes and it's hard enough with a lot of hives, but worse with a lot more mating nucs.




  19. #19
    jfischer Guest

    Post

    I got confused a long time ago, so I started
    stenciling every brood chamber and every
    super starting with A-001, A-002, etc.

    This allows actual tracking, which was
    done with a Palm Pilot at first, and
    then with pen and a pocket pad when the
    Palm Pilot got too gunky one day and
    stuck to my desk after a half day in
    the field.

    There's a number of computer programs out
    there, but I'm one of the last surviving
    Informix database geeks, so I have my
    own idea of what makes a good database
    for beekeeping, and it runs on Sun Solaris.

  20. #20

    Post

    Hey guys,

    I too, saw the dial type cards several years ago that were in the Kelley catalog, and after a long and frustrating search for them or any other similar device, I decided to produce the Ready-Date calenders.
    I believe the market for queen rearing supplies is very narrow, and thus not a lot of companies are willing to invest in the tooling and supplies to produce an item that moves slowly.
    I have thought long and hard about tooling up to do something like the dial card, but for now it's beyond my capabilities and production costs would greatly impact the final price.
    In designing the Ready-Date card, I went one step further and included a spot to notify you when the nuc needs to be reorganized...filled with bees, remove honey or excess bees or whatever, and it has been helpful.
    Now that the season is well under way, I find it necessary to equalize nucs often and the "O" setting on the card makes the task a simple one.
    I kept the design very simple and easy to use for one reason: so it would get used! I've tried paper notes and all they were good for was smoker fuel. One more benefit is that the cards are made of weather proof plastic (they don't stand up to the weed eater very well, though) .
    Michael, I place a pin on the date in which the queen will be LAYING. That way I don't have to try to do any calculating in my head. All I do is walk through the yard in search of a date that has already past and get my queen. This method also lets me know roughly how long the queen has been laying as well. As you mentioned, you could use color coded pins (another benefit of this design) to assist in keeping track of certain lines...I've done this as well. Yours should have arrived by now. Let me know if you have any questions.
    For anyone else interested in the Ready-Date mating nuc calender, please send me a SASE and I'll send you a FREE sample to try. Again, if you do decide to order, please contact Betterbee. Thank You!

    One final word about tacks:
    Use "pushpins", they pull out easier than ordinary flat thumbtacks and they also come in various colors as well as clear.

    Regards,

    Jim Littley
    Emerald Ridge Apiary
    1831 Squawfield Rd.
    Hillsdale, MI 49242

    ------------------
    http://www.emeraldridgeapiary.net

    [This message has been edited by James Burke (edited July 23, 2004).]

    [This message has been edited by James Burke (edited July 23, 2004).]

    [This message has been edited by James Burke (edited July 23, 2004).]

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