It is very important to know what happened a few inspections back. Are they growing, depleting? Did you find them queenless and add a frame with eggs and need to check back in a few weeks? So we made a little paper that has info blocks on it. We put it in a sheet protector and we staple it to the cover. Black marker writes and stays on the sheet protector and we dont have to keep printing the paper. When the 4 inspections are done we turn the paper over and get four more inspections. That's 8 weeks of inspections.
Date, Eggs Y or N, (just circle one), Seams of bees (write number) Need feed Y or N, Mite count ___ Treated Y or N
Notes: N = No G=Good Q =Queen QC=Queen Cell B=brood E=eggs F=frame S= super
So queenless added one frame of eggs would be NQ +1FE. The hive we took the eggs from would have a -1FE +QC would be added a queen cell.
If everything was good then a big G in the note section says it all. NI = no inspection, and the next time it is mandatory to inspect it.
On hives that we must check back on we put a rock on top. Reading the notes we would see it was because a frame of eggs was added and we need to see eggs or no inspection was done and needs to be checked in 2 weeks.
Takes about 30 seconds and works well for us. When a new employee starts it takes a few rounds before he has it.
Just come up with something that works for you.
Interesting to hear how you all do things. To be clear, these bricks are not my only form of hive tracking. I have a journal for detailed notes, plus a white board with each hive, its status, last mite load, what I need to do next, etc. But the bricks--I'm hoping--are useful ways to quickly size everything up as I walk into my bee yard.
One shortcoming of my system I've noticed so far is that I don't have a way to mark a hive as "unknown." This time of the year--when it's often too cold to pull a hive apart--I don't have high confidence in the status of some hives. So I'll probably just place the brick on the front of the lid to signify an unknown status...er something like that. Otherwise, I do like the color-coding as a visual reference.