I don't have but 3 hives. I keep a journal (not a diary) listing date and what was done. I generally just bring enough stuff, or leave it at the site, to do what needs to be done at the time I notice it. The dated journal is nice so I can figure out what happened when last year. I make a seperate page when I am messing with making queens.
What would be easier and quicker (than using an 'ID card" for each hive), would be to place a barcode sticker (serial #) on each hive. Develop a (or incorporate into an existing) mobile app that begins each inspection with a scan of the barcode by your phone's (or tablet's) camera.
I would suggest contacting the developer with such a request.
That's the wonder of most open source/privately developed software. You can say "Hey, this would be great!" and they very well might agree with you and update the software with that feature.
I use and ICAM extreme. A pair of sunglasses with a video camera built into them. The camera is right between the eyes and takes great video and audio. I then go back to my computer and download it and save it and can refer to it whenever I need to. The video records wherever I am looking. Works well for me.
Sorry forgot to say that they also come with a set of clear lenses. Easier to see things with.
gm. I guess my recall must not be as good as yours. Next year when I look back or try to think back about what I did that worked and didn't work I can look at the video. Takes 5 minutes to hook up and down load. Some of us just aren't as smart as others. Especially us that are fairly new to this game. Like I said, before works well for me. Not trying to push it on anyone.
Luv2beekeep, it is a perfectly good use of technology.
Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping
Well if it works for you....... Its funny how we want to get back to nature, and then spend time screwing with technology. It just seemed to me if you were sharp enough to come up with an idea like that and make them work you would be sharp enough to remember how to work your bees!
I'm building an iPhone/iPad app that can do the following:
1) Take an updated picture of your hive and also allow you to tag pictures to a hive inspection (you will need to take the device to the yard to take pictures).
2) Type notes on the progress of the hive (you can do this at your home...this is not meant to be done in the yard, but you can do it in the yard if you want).
3) Complete bulk tasks to multiple hives.
4) Update the hive status - number of frames of brood, pollen, honey etc. (this is meant to show the current status of your hive).
Moving hives is also on my list and hopefully should be done in about a month.
The data is stored in the cloud and you don't have to worry about losing any of it. Please send me a private message with your email if you want to be a beta tester (beta testers try out the app and give me feedback).
I'll give my 2 cents on this.
As some of you I use a digital micro-recorder where I record the aspects that stand out just after viewing each hive.
Later at home I put on computer information of each hive.
But this is only half way . When return to that apiary I take a sheet of paper with very brief notes about each hive. This feedforward is very useful because it allows me to better interpret what I see in each hive.
Yesterday and today I inspected an apiary with more than 90 hives. I carried information of each hive with the number of frames that bees cover 3 weeks prior. All colonies were over about 1 to 2 Q bees. I just saw on the ground that those hives had grown relatively to what they were three weeks before. To be rigorous, all grew least one : the hive No. 332. 3 weeks ago bees covering 8 frames and yesterday covered only 6. In the presence of an abnormal situation I' decided analyse in more watch out . Got some frames and quickly came across the reason of that abnormality : the hive despite being treated had a high load mites.
In conclusion notes are optimal, we must take them , if not always, almost always, register them in the format that we prefere ... and go again with us to the apiary in the format that most suits us ( I opt by a simple sheet of paper handwritten with very summary notes; an A4 sheet gives to record what I want for about 50 hives ).
Also the best program out there is http://beecloud.co/en/ they listen to you when you need a new feature etc. Check them out.
I also keep two bricks on top of each hive. They keep the lid from blowing off but I also use them to remind me about queen status. Both laying down means she is there and laying. One upright tells me I need to look for eggs, like if I requeened or have a virgin. Two upright means queenless.
I also keep a spreadsheet to track if I feed, when and how much, if and when they swarmed etc. I also create records for splits with a date to go look for eggs so I don't get ahead of myself and go in too early, but can also know when it's been too long so I can intervene.
Not for nothing you could write a book on a 5 gallon pail.
Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping
For me, note taking must be easy to do and easy to retrieve the info, otherwise my laziness prevents me from doing it. I've thought of using some sort of electronic recording, but then the info is hidden away on storage media somewhere and it is not easily accessible when I am in the apiary. Transcribing takes an extra step and thus won't get done. Wading through a bunch of video to recall what was done 8 weeks ago would take too long.
I would also distinguish between a system which creates a record to enhance the learning process, vs a system which is just leaving me a future note so I know what the next step is in whatever operation I am doing to a hive. Right now, I am doing the former, but if I had more hives or had more experience, I would be doing the latter.
After some trial and error, I now tape a sheet of water proof paper (Rite In The Rain) on the top of each lid and write on it with pencil. Usually just one line per inspection or manipulation. The paper and pencil are weather proof and sit in the open on top of the hive for most of year with no ill effects. Literally an extra 10 seconds per hive at each inspection/manipulation and I have a complete and easily accessed record. Super easy, and the info is right there in front of my face whenever I approach the hive.
I find looking over the notes for the previous few months to be very helpful because it allows me to spot trends I wouldn't otherwise notice. This is especially helpful for evaluating queens. When the page is full I replace it and put the full page in a notebook in case I want to look at it in the future.
Last edited by shinbone; 12-07-2014 at 07:07 AM.
(3rd year, 12 hives, Zone 5b, 5400 ft, 15.8" annual rainfall)
shinbone you use information media a little different from mine , but the strategy is completely identical. Have specific information that allows us to understand and spot the hive trends is a critical piece for quick and appropriate intervention.