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Author Topic: Record keeping for Hives, What's everyone doing? Hive Tracks anyone???  (Read 2316 times)
Moots
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« on: January 15, 2013, 12:12:44 PM »

OK, after a few months of research, I'm finally official as a beekeeper!  Got an early start to the season by finding a supplier with two Nucs available (thanks Bailey  Smiley)

I figure I want to create good habits and get used to the routine of keeping good records, so instead of reinventing the wheel, I'm wondering what others have found that works for their needs.  Software?  Pen and Paper? Mental memory? etc. etc.

Being in the IT field, my natural inclination is to use a computer.  I even thought about just creating a log in an Excel spreadsheet.  I decided to take a quick look for a software solution and I've found a few...Hive Tracks, Apitrack, Beetight, and Hive Task.  From a quick cost and functionality assessment, Hive Tracks looks pretty tough to beat, it seams to be a fairly robust and user friendly piece of software, and FREE is always good!  Anyone else using it?  If so, how satisfied are you with it?

Any other suggestions?...
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"We must reject the idea that every time a law’s broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions."
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danno
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« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2013, 01:47:18 PM »

I've said this before If hive tracks was a downloadable program so I could take my laptop into the field it would have everything I need but its not.
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hardwood
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« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2013, 02:06:11 PM »

I use sticks and lumps of grass placed in varying locations on the hive to tell me what needs to be done (sick in entrance=check for queen for example)  Smiley

Scott
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"In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person's becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American...There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag...We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language...And we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people."

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bailey
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« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2013, 02:19:38 PM »

I have thought about this myself.
Best idea I had so far would be a laminated sheet of paper with a checklist of various tasks for the year. 
One designed for hives.  The other designed for nucs.   
These could be tacked to the hive or nuc with push pins.  A date section for these would be included.
Example. 
For nucs it would include start date.   Date to inspect for queen emergence. Date to check for egg laying. 
Since the form would be laminated it would be marked with a grease pencil or other washable marker
That would stay put till I wanted it washed off. 

Bailey.
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mikecva
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« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2013, 02:29:21 PM »

Welcome to beekeeping.  cheer and the forum.

I just use the old pencil and paper. I tape pictures into the note pads. I try to make entries when I get back to the car or house only because I do not have a laptop (my kids and grand kids do but not me) As always, it all depends on if/how much you use your notes. I also suggest not using shorthand notes unless you have a better memory then I do. -Mike
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Moots
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« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2013, 02:39:35 PM »

Bailey,
Along the same concept that you're describing...It reminds me of a setup that Randy Fair showed me at the LBA convention in Bossier.  I don't remember the details of it, but it's a sheet of metal mounted to the hive or Nuc with rows and columns labeled for different task and/or observations. I want to say there was even a calendar or something to mark a date.  Anyway, he had little square magnets that he would move to the appropriate location to mark the results of his last inspection.  It was pretty neat!

FYI, I checked on the girls at lunch, I've designated them Alpha and Bravo.  Bravo, the stronger of the two, actually had steady traffic with bees coming and going...This sort of surprised me, it's about 45 degrees out, overcast, and nasty!
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"We must reject the idea that every time a law’s broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions."
                                                                                                                   - Ronald Reagan
bailey
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« Reply #6 on: January 15, 2013, 03:06:34 PM »

I checked my back yard and found a lot of movement around lunch time.  They were really going good for such a crappy day.   You should be able to inspect them tomorrow at noon.   
Would suggest that you only pull the frames with the foundation to see what they are doing with them.  Once they have them drawn out I would do the transfer. 
No sense in rushing them into a bigger space till they decide to start drawing foundation. 
If they are drawing it out fast then I would consider the transfer this weekend.
Bailey
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most often i find my greatest source of stress to be OPS  ( other peoples stupidity )

It is better to keep ones mouth shut and be thought of as a fool than to open ones mouth and in so doing remove all doubt.
minz
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« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2013, 03:51:36 PM »

Yes, I use them all.  Hive tracks was a bummer since I had problems putting in old info, If I did not put it in right away it would get in a pile until I was busy.  I just stopped using it.
I was very interested in progress and for the most part my interests were different. I use an excel spread sheet that I print out with 10 boxes for the top deep, same for the bottom with 3 areas.  I put a % for brood,% for honey and % for drawn E for eggs (tells me I have a queen recent).  Big boxes and use a carpenter pencil. You could stick that clipboard and paper to the wall when I get done. I then track everything in the spread sheet. Hive Number, Inspections date, weather, if fed, queen spotted, uncapped brood, blooming, ‘should have’. Another tab for inventory and where it is.  Another tab for cost (you may not want to see that one).
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GLOCK
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« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2013, 04:57:43 PM »

I take my voice recorder and it works great .

I then copy everything down on my PC later why i'm sipping tea and listening to music alot easyer then copying things down wile being in the bee yard.
I can even save the file a great pius for a lone beekeeper. grin
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Moots
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« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2013, 06:23:52 PM »

Glock,
When you say you "copy everything down on my PC"....into what?  A spreadsheet, a word document, Tracking software???
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"We must reject the idea that every time a law’s broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions."
                                                                                                                   - Ronald Reagan
AllenF
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« Reply #10 on: January 15, 2013, 06:36:07 PM »

Siri takes notes for me, but I only use the I phone for work stuff.   With the hives, I just use my noggin as much as I can. 
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Moots
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« Reply #11 on: January 15, 2013, 07:25:17 PM »

Allen,
You're obviously having better luck than me, I absolutely LOVE my iPhone...However, every time I attempt to use Siri, it leads to me wondering exactly how far would it be possible for me to throw my iPhone!   soapbox
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"We must reject the idea that every time a law’s broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions."
                                                                                                                   - Ronald Reagan
danno
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« Reply #12 on: January 16, 2013, 07:59:02 AM »

the book Honey in the comb by Killian has a desent paper and pencil system.   I do some surveying and use record books by a company called rite-in-the-rain.  I use a small 5 1/2 X 7 1/2 six ring binder.  The up sides to useing these is its a treated paper that can be written on even when wet, it never smears, its small enough to fit in your pocket and you can add or remove pages
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Mbeck
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« Reply #13 on: January 16, 2013, 05:19:46 PM »

A strip of tape and sharpie on the lid work well for notes if I put the right lid back on the box!
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GLOCK
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« Reply #14 on: January 16, 2013, 05:23:51 PM »

Glock,
When you say you "copy everything down on my PC"....into what?  A spreadsheet, a word document, Tracking software???
WORD PAD. Thats all i need being a hobbest some thing to look back on from time to time.
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Nature Coast Beek
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« Reply #15 on: January 16, 2013, 05:53:49 PM »

Evernote. It's easy to use, syncs across platforms (have more than one computer/phone) and can easily add photos to notes. Evernote also has a handy web clipper that will clip from the web and store it where you want. I clip articles and studies from the web and store them in my beekeeping notebook. 
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Moots
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« Reply #16 on: January 16, 2013, 11:18:19 PM »

NCB,
I'm familiar with Evernote, I'm a fan, and use it regularly.  Was just thinking I wanted something more designed specifically for beekeeping.  But your right, it's a great product.  Have you used Remember the Milk, it's another App that I'm not sure I'd want to live without, especially since I've reached that "old and forgetful" point in life.  grin
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"We must reject the idea that every time a law’s broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions."
                                                                                                                   - Ronald Reagan
Nature Coast Beek
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« Reply #17 on: January 17, 2013, 06:31:41 AM »

Moots,

I'll check it out. I'm now running Windows 8 and it looks like the push to all apps-based interface is the "future".
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specialkayme
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« Reply #18 on: January 20, 2013, 08:15:46 AM »

I go with pencil and paper myself. I use the system described in "50 years among the bees."

I've found that everything I take out to the bee yard will eventually be covered in propolis. For that reason, my phone doesn't come out of my pocket, less it get destroyed (and btw, I have the same issues with siri). If I brought my laptop to the yard, it would be the same thing. If I bought a recorder, it would be the same thing.

I wrote notes on hives for a while, even put a sheet inside the hive for a short time. Problem was I wouldn't be able to tell what I needed until I was already in the yard. One yard is an hour and a half away. If I needed to bring some mite or nosema treatments, sugar, or pollen, or even extra supers, I wouldn't know what I needed till I couldn't get it.

So I think it's important to have a system where you can review your records when you are not standing in the bee yard. That's just me though.

So if you write it down on paper in the yard, I don't see the need to transfer it to the computer. Most of the time I just need to know information about the LAST inspection, not everyone done this year. The last inspection will dictate what I need to do THIS inspection, or the important information. The rest of the information throughout the year helps me evaluate a queen to see if I'll graft from her, or to help me understand what goes wrong if the hive dies. Both of those are "what ifs" and doesn't happen to every hive. So for that reason, I don't put it into the computer, and just thumb through my hand written notes IF I need to.
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BabcockFarms
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« Reply #19 on: January 20, 2013, 10:32:31 PM »

I use a combo of both. I print out a sheet to take out in the field, mostly so I don't forget anything. It is set up for quick concise check marks and numbers. When back in front of my computer, I put it in a spreadsheet. It includes everything from temperament, queen present, to diseases and weather conditions plus much more. My spreadsheet was based on many great ideas of others hard work put together. I also take a video of any full inspections to help me remember.
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