Hopefully, having an article on note-taking makes the point very clear; notes are vital for a beekeeper. As a beekeeper, our primary goal is to keep our honey bees alive and thriving. Without good note-taking, beekeeping becomes an opinion game with no solid foundation or traction for success.
As a human being myself, I can attest to forgetting, exaggerating the facts, missing vital information, and relying on my opinion rather than scientific facts. I assume I am not alone in this.
If the goal is keeping our honey bees healthy, detailed notes should be taken. Sometimes even when walking near the hive, notes should be taken – are they bringing in pollen? How much honey bee traffic? Any fighting at the entrance? All these can be important to keep track of.
What about your hive setup? Keep a record of it; when you added a super, when you took it off, when you added an entrance reducer, what size was it? What direction is the hive facing? And the questions continue to flow. EVERYTHING should be kept track of, or at the very least, you should write a solid paragraph during each inspection.
Why should this be done? Because when one of your colonies dies…and it will happen, I promise, having detailed notes to compare that against your other hives that survived is essential. If you have honey bees, you need to be taking notes. It’s as simple as that.
To help you on this journey I wanted to assist you in getting started – I created a hive log that we used as a company in the past (now we use cloud database software to keep track of everything). This will get you started; feel free to change it to fit your needs. The file is in excel. So if you do not have excel, you can download the file and upload it to Google Sheets.
If you prefer using pen and paper, get a beekeeping journal, or use a notebook and put it next to your hives (perhaps in a waterproof container). Whatever works to get you to make notes on your hives, your honey bee will thank you.