Keeping Better Records

Knowing your bees is part of having a successful and satisfying beekeeping experience. Is this the season to do something about improving colony records? Or will you continue to use the ‘brick’ method? Hivetracks is a better way to keep hive/apiary records. And Hive Tracks is launching a series of improvements to make it even easier. [See informative articles on Hive Tracks by founders James Wilkes and Mark Henson in January & February Bee Culture Mag].

If you are like me you have good intentions to record your observations. It is hard to do with sticky gloves and tough on tablets or laptops. I know as I leave the apiary I am going to remember to check hive 2 for a queen, bring a super next time (or right away) for hive 3 and check again on that defensive colony the next time I visit. Of course I know what I want to do – but when the next time rolls around I can’t always remember which colony needed the super or which one needed the check on their queen.

Hive Tracks is a web-based software record keeping system created by beekeepers for backyard or small-scale beekeepers. It is accessed via using a computer, smart phone or on tablet. It is an aid to organizing and storing information for your beekeeping that can include apiary and hive inspection information, such as saw the queen, I think they swarmed, I saw bright yellow pollen coming in, etc. It stores your fundamental data on apiary and individual hive records. Hive tracks promises it will assist you to ‘know your bees’… more than the bricks can ever tell us.

One feature of hive tracks I like is the my yards page, which is locatable on google global map. I have digital representation of each hive. From a menu I can match my colony, type of bottom board, brood chamber size and number, if I am using a queen excluder (or not), number and size of supers and even type of cover. But I use the past record of my individual hive inspections the most as I prepare for my apiary visit. You can add as little or as much as you wish and have time for.

There are 15,000 hive track users and it is used in over 140 countries [even a couple of beekeepers, including myself, use it in Bolivia]. Average colony number of users is 5 hives. Nearly 300 Oregon beekeepers, currently managing 1746 hives, are using hive tracks. And the best part – it costs only a buck a hive a month, with a max of $5/month. I recommend you ‘Check it out’ – you will be pleasantly surprised how easy it is to use and how powerful a hive recording instrument is at your fingertips.

If this is the year you wanted to take your beekeeping to another level – consider Hive Tacks – it could be a giant step forward and you could then use those ‘bricks’ to securely stabilize each hive so it doesn’t rock and roll as much.