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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    West St. Paul, MN, USA

    Default Keeping Notes for Successful Bee Keepers!

    So I am new to keeping bees, but take it pretty seriously. I am very small at this point, but hope to grow a bit bigger over the next few years - nothing to make a living off of, but maybe bring in a few bucks here and there, but more importantly, help give some bees a good home! I want to start keeping track of my hives with notes and observations and I am looking for suggestions as to what to keep track of. In a post a week or two ago, Adam Foster Collins posted this -

    In your region...

    1) When does early pollen start and with what flowers blooming?

    2) When does swarm season starts and what's blooming?

    3) When does the main flow start and what's blooming?

    4) When are you most likely to get a dearth in your area?

    5) When does fall flow start and what's blooming?

    6) When do you need to have completed assessments of colony stores and begin feeding if necessary?

    7) When you should be finished with liquid feed in your area?

    8) When should you treat (if you do that) in your area and with what on that date?

    9) When should you have your bees completely ready for winter in your area?

    10) What date do you try to do a late winter/ early spring evaluation of overwintering colonies?
    I thought this was a good place to start. I am also wondering if there are any worksheets, or templates for hive info records. I am a fairly smart dude, so I could probably figure this out, but I would rather not reinvent the wheel if there are already good examples of record keeping for bee keepers. Thanks in advance!! Discussions on Urban Homesteading

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Madison, WI, USA

    Default Re: Keeping Notes for Successful Bee Keepers!

    Something to keep in mind is that each hive behaves like an individual responding to their own micro-environment, so any dates are going to be estimates. It is better in my opinion to take action based on the results of routine (every 3 weeks) hive inspections, with some general expectations that brood build-up will occur in early spring, honey production in summer, and predation from other honeybee colonies, wasps, etc. will be a concern in the fall. Since each apiary (I have 15) is in a different location, each will have its own pattern and this pattern will vary from year to year. Learn to identify local trees and wildflowers, and take note of crops in the area and the condition of water sources. Manage moisture during the winter and get some feed on very early in the spring for overwintering colonies. I use insulated/ventilated inner covers that I place on each hive in November and remove in late March, with granulated sugar added above the standard inner cover when the winter inner covers are removed. There is a rythym to beekeeping but it is akin to all agriculture in that it follows the weather rather than the calender.
    life is finite while knowledge is infinite. - Zhuang Zi

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Sacramento, California

    Default Re: Keeping Notes for Successful Bee Keepers!

    Some questions about beekeping, like: what recipe of syrup to feed during what time of year, and how to do a split, are general to all places. Some questions (like yours) are local and depend on local conditions like weather, forage and climate. You need to find some local beekepers for these questions.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA

    Default Re: Keeping Notes for Successful Bee Keepers!

    Quote Originally Posted by Autonomy Acres View Post
    I am also wondering if there are any worksheets, or templates for hive info records.
    Hivetracks is a web based tracking tool.

    HiveTasks, from Beesource member
    Jeanette resides on your PC:
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia

    Default Re: Keeping Notes for Successful Bee Keepers!

    Thanks for the mention, Graham!

    Autonomy, HiveTasks has a free trial version so you can see if it suits your needs.

    If a computer program isn't what you had in mind, you might like to google 'beekeeping records' for examples of record cards you can store under the lid of each hive. Just remember to keep the cards in a plastic protector or they will get chewed and damaged! I think the Chris Slade Record Card was popular for a while - and it is still available online.


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