It is a good idea to keep records as memories aren’t as good as we’d like them to be! Especially if you’re tracking for a period of years. A sheet of paper tacked to the underside of the outer cover is a good place to keep records. Also, a hive diary can be kept and filled out each time the hives are worked. Referring to the diary before going to the apiary will assist in remembering any needed supplies or equipment.
The information on each hive kept will vary with the beekeeper. Some general areas would be:
- Has the colony sufficient room? Number of frames of sealed brood, number of frames covered by adult bees.
- Hive characteristics: gentle, aggressive, productive, etc.
- Is the Queen present and laying the expected quantity of eggs? Is the brood pattern tight and even?
- In early season, is the colony building up in size as fast as other colonies in the apiary?
- Mid season, are there any Queen cells present in the colony? Swarming record (how often, what time of year).
- Effects of last manipulation and time elapsed.
- Are there any signs of disease or abnormality?
- Are there enough stores to last until the next inspection?
- Medication schedule (type, when, for what reason).
- How much honey was obtained.
- Wintering ability and stores.
- Requeening, year and date.