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Does anyone keep one? Do you find it useful to compare data/conditions/circumstances from year to year? Do you wish you had? Any hints/tips for someone considering one?

Thank you.
 

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And what about Check Lists? Does anyone use them?

Cascade, I used to write something down in a little notebook every time I went to a bee yard. Mostly it kept track of how many hives I had in which yards. And if i wanted to know what I did in a yard the last time I was there, that was there too. Such as supered X number of hives w/ X number of supers.

But I haven't done that in the last couple of years. I didn't find it to be that informative or otherwise useful. Maybe I should do it again.
 

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My mentor kept notes by putting a piece of wide masking tape on the inner cover, and writing notes on it. But I think I'll make a real log this spring to track the hives.
 

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Right now I keep a log (computer) on important things I do each year. Requeening (how many and when), supplies, etc. I tried keeping notebooks on each hive, then each yard but it became too much work and you would have to read over your notes when you went back to the yard to see what the problem hives were. I now mark on the lids everything I observe. Use codes. (FQ) Failing queen, (W) Weak, (NQ) no queen, etc, etc. Then when I go back to a yard a quick glance tells me exactly what is going on with the hive. I also mark the year of the queen on the hive body. So if I have a weak hive that has a new queen I will give it a closer inspection and requeen if that's the problem. Goes way quicker and is "paperless." I do keep a notebook in the truck with each yard having a page. This info is number of hives in the yard per check and anything needed. Like "need 2 queens, needs more supers, etc. So when I go to to load up for the next round on the yards I have what I need. Last, in the fall I just paint over the lids so in the spring they have a clean slate.
 

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I've tried, with varying success, to keep a log for each of my yards. Mainly, when I go out I try to make notes as to what I need to bring the next visit. Now, if I could only make myself review those logs before I leave home the next time........
 

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I use a calender book. On the day I do the work I write what was done. Each yard gets shorthand(brief description) of what was done. I do this everytime I am in a yard. If there is a problem or suspect hive that hive is marked on the cover or hive front with a lumber crayon and a brief description of that is written in my book. When I go to make my next round I look at what was wrote the last time. If I need a nuc for a queenless hive I know, If there was a suspect disease hive I know to look for it and do that one last, etc. If a yard is a poor producer one year I can look at the previous years and decide if it needs to be eliminated or not. If I go to a yard that had 40 hives the last time and the next time it has 38 I know 2 were stolen. No matter how you keep records it needs to be done in a way you can go back and view those year after year-time after time. When my wife complains about how little work I do in the winter I can bring out my daily logs from the summer to remind her how hard I worked through the weekends(most all of them), nights extracting so I could be in the bee yards during the day, moving bees at night then back out again the next day, etc. etc., when she was off relaxing on the back of her horse and swimming with the kids.
 

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Sounds like we are married to the same person. :eek:
 

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That's what I use. The big thick ones work best. I pick them up in a three pack at staples. Keep one in my bee suit pocket and the others in the truck as back up.
 

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I number each of my hives.
Best advice I got was from Grant G... take a spiral notebook out to the yards, make quick notes in the notebook. When I get home, I transfer (copy) those notes to pages in a ring binder. Each hive has a page (actually each hive has several pages now). That way I can track from year to year, or within a year, the progress of each hive. The pages for the hives are separated into sections, based on which yard they're in. I have three sections in the binder, for the three different yards I have.

I also make notes about what to do next time I go out, on a sheet of paper. That sheet goes to the bee equipment, so I don't forget it. This eliminates mistakes in taking equipment, feed, planning, etc, on my trips out to the yards.

The key is not that you do your notes in a particular way, but that you do note/record-keeping in a way that works for YOU! So you can help your bees.
Regards,
Steven
 

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I take a pocket recorder and put it in my pocket. (my hives are numbered.) when I'm done I just record what I did to the hive, if it needed anything and what I should bring on the next trip Then I go home and listen to the recorder and make my log. I tried to take notes in the bee yard and I had propolis and honey all over the notebook, my pen, pages got stuck together etc. This works great, give it a try
 

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Writing down what's happening in your apiary and in each colony is great. That's the way you learn. You start to see patterns in colony development. At first you want to write down everything. You might develop a code. E for eggs, B for sealed brood, SQ for saw the queen, CHB for chalk observed, 120 for honey taken, etc.

Soon enough, you realise that you have too much information, and it's scattered all over your notebook. So, you stop writing down things that are right with your colony, and you keep track of what's wrong. Rather than noting eggs, you note when there aren't eggs. You condense your notebook. You don't keep track of everything.

What do you keep track of?

I keep two notebooks. One is general information about the apiary as a whole. Date I visited the yard. What I did in the yard. Any general info about the colonies, the brush that has to be cut, the battery that was renewed on the bear fence, how many supers were added, etc.

For specific colony information, you should use a yard sheet. This keeps track of colony performance. It can be in spreadsheet form so it's easy to compare colonies in the apiary, and performance of the apiary as a whole. Write down the traits that you feel are the most important to you and your bees. Is honey production your most important trait? What about presence of Chalkbrood. Or, how about wintering ability, or temper.

There are many yardsheet examples available online. Cornell has one. I've seen others posted on BS. It doesn't have to be fancy, and it shouldn't track so much information that you get lost in the numbers.

This is a copy of mine that I've posted here before. I keep each year in a separate 3 ring binder. Makes it much easier to come up with decent breeding stock, or to evaluate a group of queens that you might have purchased from away.



 

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Because of my plans for the Honey Bee Science Network, I have very detailed forms/checklists that are completed for each hive

I have both an inspection form that covers specific findings and results of inspections and a general observation report for documenting those things observed when not opening the hive but seen, heard, etc... conditions found otherwise.

These reports are then scanned to a PDF file and posted online for all those in the beekeeping conservation group to have access to.

This helps in terms of communicating the history and conditions of each and every hive to a group of people who may be looking at different aspects at any given time.

Big Bear
 

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i take a note card with me to each bee yard. On the note card is the map of the yard with the hives in blocks. This allows me to short hand on each block what the hive is doing, or what i did...ie requeen. If i move a hive, I map it out with arrows. If i split a hive i also map it out, and if the hive gets moved to another yard, it to gets mapped out.
I have a three ring binder with dividers in it. Each divider is for a yard. Then the maps get transposed into the binder along with notes of date, if i treated, honey flow, average yard yield etc. I probably do several maps per season.
This year i am placing cattle tags on each hive. On the tag will be a number and a couple pieces of info. (type of queen...ie..buckfast) I got this idea from the university etemolgy department. They are going around testing hives in the province and marked the hives they are studying with an cattle dangle tag.

HS
 

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I take a pocket recorder and put it in my pocket. (my hives are numbered.) when I'm done I just record what I did to the hive, if it needed anything and what I should bring on the next trip Then I go home and listen to the recorder and make my log. I tried to take notes in the bee yard and I had propolis and honey all over the notebook, my pen, pages got stuck together etc. This works great, give it a try
I do the same thing. At first I took the info and put it in a notebook. Later I stated inputting the data into a spreadsheet. I finally got around to inputting the first 6 months of 2009. I't was great (and sad), I could clearly see from earlier data that I was inputting to the computer things that cause some negative problems with failed hives. I saw where I should have cut my losses with some of the cutouts/trapouts/swarms. What I did best with my splits.

Now that I use a digital recorder and a spreadsheet, I keep even more detail data than when I began. If I open up a hive and observe every frame in every box, I can tell you what I saw in each frame. By doing that much detail I can actually see real changes that occured over a period of time. Whether it be the size of the brood pattern across the frames, the size of the brood through more than 1 box, to backfilling with honey, pollen amounts and colors.

I think that after several years I will be able to make even more sense of the information and patterns.

Since I am so detail, I have had to invent a lot of abbreviations for myself and how to use them. It takes time to develop a system of abbreviations and there are always new ideas that come up to make inputting the data easier.

I have included a few days where I had a lot of data. Hopefully it will not be removed because of the amount of info. It is easier to read in a spreadsheet because the heading is frozen.


 

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Holy smokes,.USCBeeMan! What the heck is that? :)

I keep my notes/records written on the palm of my hand,...ala,..Sarah Palin,..:D. With 1-4 hives it doesn't,..take very much :rolleyes:; no confusion.

I like the idea of the little tape/voice recorder though.
 
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