Whether you have 1 hive or 10,000 hives, keeping up with what you’ve done, what you need to do and when it needs to be done can be daunting. The topic of record keeping for beekeepers has long been a sticky point as to how and where to take to notes.
- Smart phone apps - There are multiple apps available for beekeepers; some free, some not, but most likely you’ll find one that works for you for little or no cost. Downside – the inability to use our phone while wearing protective gloves. Even most styluses don’t work with gloves on. What then? You have to slip the glove off to input data. This is doable in most situations. Just take a moment to step back and make a quick data entry and move on to the next hive. Downside – cumbersome to work with your phone in the bee yard and can potentially damage the phone with honey or propolis.
- Voice recording - This is a popular method as well. With most everyone carrying a smart phone, simply pushing the record button upon entering the bee yard and back off when you’ve exited allows for a step-by-step accounting of your activities. Then simply play it back when you have a moment and jot down any information you’ll need to refer back to in the future.
- Hive top notes seems to be growing in popularity. The metal top on telescopic covers is a great writing surface and actually holds the writing for quite a long time. Wax pencils seems to be a favorite – called “China Markers” and can be found in most home improvement stores or online. Taking notes the moment you’ve worked the hive does seem to make more sense and to have the note directly on top of the hive the note pertains to sounds ideal! Downside – the need to visit the hive to “re-read” your notes to prepare for any supplies or medication needs could potential put you having to retrace your steps.
Regardless of what method you choose to keep records on your hives – make a commitment to your bees to find which one works best for you.