Do you use any beekeeping software? Why?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Montreal, Canada
    Posts
    32

    Default Do you use any beekeeping software? Why?

    Hello!

    I know similar questions have been asked on this forum, but time goes on and the beekeeping landscape as well as the world around us is changing.
    Can you please share you thoughts on this:

    - Do you use any beekeeping software (mobile app, desktop program, internet application etc). ?

    If yes:
    - which one(s)
    - what do you find particularly attractive in this solution?
    - what is certainly missing?
    - what would you like to change (functionality, pricing, availability, design - anything)?
    - what made you start looking for an app and what made you chose this one?

    if no:
    - why?
    - did you research and evaluate your options?
    - would you reconsider had you seen an app that does it for you, or you simply like the feel of paper on your hivetop on a rainy November day?

    I will appreciate any other thoughts or considerations you have on this topic.

    Thank you,

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Location
    Parthenon, Ar,USA
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    274

    Default Re: Do you use any beekeeping software? Why?

    I use hive tracks. Its the only software I have used. It is inexpensive and easy to use.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    Timonium, Maryland
    Posts
    382

    Default Re: Do you use any beekeeping software? Why?

    Anything else that is not with monthly payment ?

    I would like to have some calendar or so that I can get reminders and put some records.

    Thanks

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Seattle WA
    Posts
    1,247

    Default Re: Do you use any beekeeping software? Why?

    I don't use any beekeeping specific software but do all of my record keeping in Excel. I used Hive Tracks for a while and modeled the spreadsheets after it. I also added more space for information I wanted to know as well. I don't use a smart phone because I believe a phone is for making phone calls (it tells my age I know) and I don't do social media because I believe in privacy. It is free and suits my needs. My kids can type really fast on their phones but if I did it that way, by the time I finished the notes for the first hive, the smoker fuel would be totally spent.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Whitefish, MT
    Posts
    97

    Default Re: Do you use any beekeeping software? Why?

    BeePlus, simple, cheap all I need.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Location
    Tampere, Finland
    Posts
    120

    Default Re: Do you use any beekeeping software? Why?

    I like pen and paper. Goes for pretty much everything, I even do maths on paper over excel unless it gets really complicated. Flexibility of empty piece of paper is unsurpassed.

    I have not really looked into any apps as I don't really see what they coul offer, beyond sticky phone screen.
    Contrasting opinions from northern Europe.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Suffolk Co, NY, USA
    Posts
    3,742

    Default Re: Do you use any beekeeping software? Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by Forgiven View Post
    I like pen and paper. Goes for pretty much everything, I even do maths on paper over excel unless it gets really complicated. Flexibility of empty piece of paper is unsurpassed.

    I have not really looked into any apps as I don't really see what they coul offer, beyond sticky phone screen.
    ditto. pocket sized spiral note pad and a black Bic ball point pen + brick positions on top of hives.
    used a free program for a few months a couple of years ago, hive tracks I think. Nothing but a PIA trying to keep up to date.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    John Day River, OR
    Posts
    280

    Default Re: Do you use any beekeeping software? Why?

    No software for me. I write on the lid for general hive notes and have a notebook in the truck for yard notes and reminders. My wife has her own notebook with queen rearing notes and schedules. We also have a whiteboard calendar.
    Personally I am not big on gadgets. Excel spreadsheets are so adaptable, as are notebooks. We use quick books for accounting.
    The other thing regarding some of the phone based apps is that we live in one of the last remaining places with no cell service. Because of this, I seldom bring my phone with me and second, some of the cool features of hive tracks like loading histories and whatnot wouldn't work well.
    Besides, I hate to think of what the screen would look like after a full day of bee work. Propolis. Honey. Sticky.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Rensselaer County, NY, USA
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    5,536

    Default Re: Do you use any beekeeping software? Why?

    No cell service in my apiary and I don't use a cell phone, anyway. I'd have to take notes in the field and then transfer them to my computer at home - why do something twice?

    I write needed info on the hive itself and jot lists of things I need to remember in a little notebook I carry in my pocket.

    I've looked over some of the systems and they seemed to be far more complicated than I need.

    My main record keeping effort is to name my colonies which allows me to remember individual details about them more easily.

    Enj.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Brown County, IN, USA
    Posts
    646

    Default Re: Do you use any beekeeping software? Why?

    I take notes on paper in the field, then enter in hivetracks, except weight which is in excel for charting. I didn't like using the phone with propolis on my hands or taking gloves on and off. I like hive tracks but like many others, I'm finding it tracks many things I don't need, and lacks things I want. A notebook and excel are slowly taking over. That said, of the software out there, I didn't find any that kept up with what hivetracks does for me.

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Reno, NV
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    3,794

    Default Re: Do you use any beekeeping software? Why?

    I have used hivetracks but did not keep it up to date this last year. I have also looked at a few others but did not use them enough o remember the names of them.

    Best feature of hivetracks is it's ease of use.
    Worst thing is there is not enough to it.

    I started using hive tracks back when it was free. I was part of the input when they started to charge for it. my response was they needed a lot more as a management tool to charge for it. it is sort of like charging you for the wrapper and not including the candy.

    Now in my real life I run a program that tracks purchases receiving distribution of parts. Work orders, in regard to time, pats cost and frequency in repairs. who requested the work to be done and follow up as to customer satisfaction as well as handles the accounting requirments.

    IN other words I not only want a program that can keep a list of how much equipment I am using. I want one that tells me how much equipment I am using. where how much I still have stored and where how old each piece of it is. when it was last maintained in any way. where it was last used. where it is going to be used next if known. what I paid for it and what it is still worth. in addition where it has been used and what has it produced or not for me. When I can expect to have to replace it and some estimate of how much that will cost. and that is just in regard to a hive box. what about equipment. vehicles, time, employees, meals when I am out working all day etc.

    Navigation via Icons is a huge plus. just pictures keeps it simple. I like the ability to map my yards. I have had situations that I could direct someone to get into my hivetracks click on a yard and show the map. No questions where it is after that. they can find it and get done what I need done. The range of a given yard has been handy as well as the hive condition information. Makes it actually tractable to see if a hive is improving or not.

    All programs have the same down fall. garbage in garbage out. you have to enter the data to get anything out of it. But it made management a snap when I had records of all my hives. what methods produced what results etc. IN many cases I got nearly exact opposite results form what I anticipated. noticed locations that where weaker than I anticipated them to be and some that where stronger than I expected.

    In all of you are keeping records. you are going to keep them somewhere. Might as well be somewhere you can still read them later.
    Everything gets darker, as it goes to where there is less light. Darrel Tank (5PM drawing instructor)

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Keene, New Hampshire, USA
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    208

    Default Re: Do you use any beekeeping software? Why?

    I have a small spiral notebook I jot down notes in after I visit each hive. Then, I move on to the next one (I have seven right now). Then, I inspect and take notes on the next one. If I wait until I have checked all of them before I write down what I see, they tend to get mixed up in my mind, and my notes are less accurate. I then transfer the notes into the records I keep on my computer.

    Before I check the hives again in two to three weeks (or sooner, depending on the hive), I review what I noted the previous visit, what I noticed and what I suggested I look for the next time. This way, when I go into a hive, I have a specific course of action to take. This mode of record keeping does take time, but it is also more detailed. Sometimes, the notes are very simple: "Saw brood, lots of stores, didn't look for queen. Add another box in two weeks." Then there are the times I wax eloquent.

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    Greenville, SC, USA
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    9

    Default Re: Do you use any beekeeping software? Why?

    Just cancelled my HiveTracks subscription. it was too cumbersome and VERY easy to lose entries. i felt like I would spend more time putting in the info than the bee work. My suggestion, ,like VickyLynn above, buy yourself a spiral notebook. By the way, if you cancel a subscription, they will give you no refund with the remaining time.
    Last edited by MillerPutnam; 04-01-2017 at 05:59 PM.

  15. #14
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    Feb 2017
    Location
    Penfield, Pa, USA
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    19

    Default Re: Do you use any beekeeping software? Why?

    I have tried a few different free smartphone apps and found they are more work than worth. Trying to update the software and inspect was tedious. I have went back to taking notes on paper then inputting it to an excel file. I have each of my hives numbered and keep a a specific tab in excel for each hive. As far as calendar notices, I just use my phone or email to send me alerts.

  16. #15

    Default Re: Do you use any beekeeping software? Why?

    Maybe someone would be interested in this application for keeping hive records: www.apimanager.net
    This app is optimized for all devices and has user-friendly interface to record data. You can record data such as hives, inspections, queens, feedings, harvests, treatments and other.
    ApiManager features dashboard with charts & statistics reports, where you can easily view the current status of your apiaries, hives and inspections.
    The app has a calendar that allows you to schedule tasks and upcoming activities and is free to use for up to 10 hives.

  17. #16

    Default Re: Do you use any beekeeping software? Why?

    I used to use Hive Tracks, but I like to use a pen and paper. I like the ritual and I find it easier than logging onto some device to take notes. In fact, I designed a notebook template for taking notes and I sell it in my shop. I like to keep it simple. notebook.jpg
    Beekeeping Instructor / Live Bee Removal / San Diego, Ca / 90 hives. Check out my new book: Queenspotting

  18. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    Northern Colorado, USA
    Posts
    791

    Default Re: Do you use any beekeeping software? Why?

    I use excel. Not the most efficient but it is easy with only 3 hives and I already have it.

  19. #18
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    Santa Fe, NM, U.S.
    Posts
    278

    Default Re: Do you use any beekeeping software? Why?

    No.
    The way my bees propolize their hive, I couldn't imagine what they would do to a keyboard.

  20. #19
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    6,953

    Default Re: Do you use any beekeeping software? Why?

    I use Evernote. I number all hives at all sites. I can make as many notes as I want. I make each apiary a note, with hive notes as needed. I can add a photo of the smaller apiaries to each note which is helpful when I need a reminder as to how I left the apiary on the last visit. I use Google Sheets for some tasks like mitecide removal dates due. This year I have a google sheet to track initial site inspections. This apiary is easy to take a picture of but worthless for bees:


  21. #20
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    England, UK
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    1,953

    Default Re: Do you use any beekeeping software? Why?

    I'm a 'No'. I like to use two text files on my desktop 'Internet' computer: one is basically a calendar in which I can place reminders of what needs doing, where, and when. Wouldn't be without it now, as I have a shocking memory. Could use a paper Diary to do the same job, I suppose, but I'd probably keep losing it ...
    The second is an 'Apiary Status' file, in which I have all the colonies listed in both numerical and location order, and which contains info regarding each genetic line I have. How many and hive sizes of each line, behaviour, Queen status, problems etc. That file can become a real pain in the butt to keep up-to-date, so I usually edit it in the evening and mull over the day's events at the same time.

    I have considered writing notes in (or on) the hives themselves, but I really like to know which hive(s) are to be examined each day BEFORE entering the apiary.

    I invariably work solo - but if I had assistants, then I'd probably sketch the apiary layout on a magnetic white board, and use colour-coded fridge magnets to indicate each hive's status, so that everyone could see - at a glance - 'what was what' on a Master diagram.
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

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