Record Keeping in the Apiary

| 11/1/2013 3:10:00 PM

Tags: record keeping, beekeeping, Julia Miller, Illinois,

bee hiveGood records are critical to managing colonies of honeybees. Imagine trying to recall the date and detail of a hive inspection completed in June 2011. Which one of the hives had the varroa mites? Did one have evidence of a weak queen? Were the brood boxes rotated? Did this hive or that one produce the most honey this year? The more colonies you have, the higher the risk of confusing details. Unless an eidetic memory is a personal gift, written records of honeybee colonies is essential.

Hive inspections at a minimum should address the health of the bees, the behavior of the colony and any treatments or interventions by the beekeeper.

Until now, I have been using a simple journal style I call "The Bee Log". This is a rudimentary way of documenting an inspection, but does track some information. For example here is the log entry from July 11, 2013:

"Checked hives. The new hive has at least two queens. Obvious queens and moving around. One on frame four and one on frame five counting from the east. Queens were both in the bottom brood box. Some honey stores, some pollen carriers coming in. Removed the feeder. They have not been eating it much. May have some early brood and some nectar stored. Small ants in the corner of the cover.

Old hive has good population. Top super has 1.5 to 2 frames to fill with honey. Left it on for more filling. Second super is a comb super. No pulling out yet, bees seem to be chewing it up instead of building. Left both in place.

Bees in both hives look healthy. No evidence of mites, moths or disease."

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