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January 28, 2018

Creating a bee hive journal to improve results

It is man's doom that each person and usually each generation ignores a common fact.  Man repeats history.  This why military strategists study past battles and wars, it the learning of what went right and what went wrong we learn from.

Beekeeping is no different.  To be better beekeepers you must be able to look at YOUR loses and victories and into each battle.  What battle you might ask. Simply what each beekeeper has always desired: health, growth, production, and survival with a splash of attitude. Splash of what? The Attitude best described as a combination of aggressiveness, mannerisms, defense, and cleanness.

As winter is ending, its time and some cases, past time to begin your journal.  If you are one of the millions with a camera phone, use it as part of your documentation.

Your winter journal section should have two sections which I will cover in depth later, but for now: one comes the prep for winter, positions, and so on and the second the end of winter.  Don't confuse the end of winter with the beginning of spring.  The tasks are different and because of occasional cold spells, it's different.

So let's start:

Step one:  If you aren't subscribing to a bee magazine, do so now.  Not only will this broaden your understanding and knowledge of beekeeping, but this helps support the industry.  Use the internet also if available. Remember, no person is an island.

Invest in a journal.  Decide if the journal will be bound or not bound (notebooks).  I suggest, not bound if you are going to be using or use a computer.  Its easier to print articles, photos, and things then simply insert them into the appropriate areas.  Taking notes by hand is better than taking notes electronically for quick information over the long term.  Bound works best for bullet style journals, handwork, and startup, but also works for field notes if your apiary is distant.  TIP:  If you are going to use a handwritten ledger, use either a pencil or a pen with waterproof ink.  If you don't you will lose your work and be very sad.  You have been warned, don't repeat history.

You could also create separate notebooks for each module.  The choice is yours.  Today in our quick paced world a bullet journal might be your ticket to success.

Since we are starting this topic with the ending of winter lets move on to that section.  Click HERE for that chapter. (in progress)

In the meantime, add  N S E W to each side of each hive (use a thumbtack and letter) then take a picture of your apiary.  Take photos as you open each hive box or component for inspection, dead bees? take a photo before you disturb them, weigh or count them.  Can you imagine the CDC or WHO reporting a "bunch" died?  Records become facts, facts become the foundation for solutions.

Note for each, is the queen there?, mites?, food? if food is still present is it near the cluster? weigh leftover food, mice?, bugs?, brood present?, nosema?, what level(s) was the cluster in? Insulated, how and with what? What exterior colors were used? Was there any pollen in the hive?

If this was a crime scene, be the detective.  If not what do they need?

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