Re: Monitoring Hive Health
I've only started doing this this year, so its a work in progress. I keep a good quality A5 notebook with me, with each hive numbered and given 2 pages. So I can find a hive, read its number (pencilled near the entrance) and look up its history. I make very condensed notes (to save the limited pages): date, site, 'Mating', 'eggs/brood', or needs Q material; type and number of box/es, a general 'doing well' or 'sulky'; a note to do something - feed up a bit, add a lift or 'crop', or just 'great!'.
Originally Posted by Hazel-Rah
I also carry a dedicated clipboard with loose printer paper, and use that for first notes. At the end of each visit I compile a list of 'urgent' actions, and then work down them. Some less urgent stuff gets done then too. By then I know what to put in the diary for future reference.
Every week on bee day I go through the diary and enter 'To-do's' on a spreadsheet, which lists hives by number and location, and add a 'priority' rating, 0 - 9. I then 'sort data' to group the hives by location and bring the priorities to the top. Print and leave for the first site.
On arrival I can look at the spreadsheet to see the priorities, and then look up individual hives in the diary to see their history, importance in the breeding scheme, condition last time and so on. I then inspect and make notes - preferably after each hive because I forget easily. If I'm in a hurry I only do the 'priority hives', but I look up all the last visits and make a point of looking inside each hive once a month.
The scheme seems to work well enough, though it is a bit of a chore with 40 hives and nucs (this year). The diary gets done on the day, but the spreadsheet takes a couple of hours to update. Doing it before going out gives a chance to get things fresh in the mind though. Above just a few hives I can't remember much of anything, so it has to be. I seem to get everything in place, bit by bit, just by plodding through the system.
I haven't made notes about flows yet. I've been pressing my bees to make comb this year (again) as I've expanded numbers, and this seems to me to obscure things. In any case most of my sites are selected for year round parking - long season activity rather than intense flows. And the weather is all over the place... there can be 6 weeks or more difference from one year to the next.
The other thing I do is keep a sketch page on the bottom of the clipboard showing where each hive is. The numbering system is simple, and doesn't tell me anything about where hives are.
I've thought a card system would be better than a notepad, but haven't found a cheap and readily workable one. It's going to be a pain when I run out of room for a hive - though I suppose I could cut the old pages out and stick new ones in for a while.
Last edited by mike bispham; 09-02-2013 at 01:20 AM.
The race isn't always to the swift, nor the fight to the strong, but that's the way to bet