Beekeeping notes help beekeepers track important information about their beehives. Keeping good hive notes can help beekeepers improve their beekeeping success, including fewer bee losses and more honey production.
Record keeping isn’t always easy, especially when you’re new to beekeeping. Here are some tips for how to keep accurate records.
They’re a record
One of the most important habits you can start as a new beekeeper is to take notes during hive inspections. These notes serve as a record of what you see and what you think is happening to the bees.
You can write down what you notice in your notes or use a preprinted inspection form as a checklist. These forms can bring structure and purpose to your hive inspections, helping you make more efficient decisions.
You can also keep a paper copy of your records next to each hive for easy access. If you’re using a smartphone, you can also set up an app that lets you record audio or video during your inspections.
They’re a reference
A hive inspection is a great time to take notes. Even if you’re only working with a few colonies, it’s not hard to come up with an exhaustive list of observations that could make a very handy reference guide in years to come.
Taking the time to record and organize your findings in a format that makes it easy to find is a great way to avoid the dreaded mishaps and other disasters that plague most beekeepers at some point in their careers. You can use a composition book, a journal, a loose-leaf binder or a card system.
A top-notch field notes system can be a useful tool for both beginner and veteran beekeepers alike. The best part is you can pick one up for less than $100 at a local hardware store or office supply shop. Keeping a spreadsheet of your inspection results is a good idea if you have a busy hive that needs to be managed as efficiently as possible.
They’re a reminder
The best time to see what’s going on inside your hives is right now, as long as the weather cooperates. Get in there at least once a week, and take note of the things: eggs, brood, honey stores, candy boards.
One of the biggest mistakes new beekeepers make is not recording their observations. A good field evaluation notebook or journal can help you remember what you saw, and provide a useful reference point for future inspections.
You can also keep a handwritten record on the go with something as small as a rubber band or sticky note. There are even apps like Evernote or Microsoft’s OneNote that allow you to store, organize and search your notes. They can even be used to compile charts and graphs for analysis later on. The best part is that your handwritten records can be backed up and printed out at a later date, and the app can even help you create a digital database for your hives.
They’re a ritual
If you’re a beginner, taking notes on your hive inspections can help train your eyes to look for signs of infestation and other problems. It can also help you recognize positive patterns in your bees, such as a hive that produces more honey than others.
A ritual is a set of activities performed in a certain way and at certain times. They can be religious, secular, or other forms of cultural ritual.
Rituals enact cultural beliefs and values by sending symbolic messages to participants that are part of a cognitive matrix (a cognitive matrix is a system of beliefs that is embedded in the culture). They are often viewed as a form of religion, but they can be found in all human societies.
Beekeeping is a very mindful activity, and observing bees and the world around them can be a calming experience for many people. Research shows that mindfulness has been a helpful therapy for mental health issues, including depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).