A part of beekeeping that is not often thought of is record keeping. Record keeping is such a useful tool because keeping track of your observations can really help to improve and expand on your beekeeping knowledge.
There are a few different methods of record keeping of beekeepers. Some keep their records electronically by using excel spreadsheets or even audio or video, but the most common form of record keeping is a beekeeping journal. These can be made from scratch, bought, or made from a beekeeping journal template.
What is a Beekeeping Journal?
A beekeeping journal is a great way for beekeepers to keep track of what is going on in their hives. It can be hard to remember all the details of a beehive, especially if you have multiple hives. That’s were a beekeeping journal comes in.
Beekeeping journals are usually notebooks or binders that are either plain, or with beekeeping journal templates printed for each page. In this journal you will write notes such as the bees temperament, colony growth, and brood patterns.
Some beekeeper prefer blank notebooks so they a lot of space to journal or draw pictures alongside their notes. Others like to use a template, as it is easy and straightforward to track and read.
It is important to be able to look at past notes of your hive inspections so you can know what to expect when checking your hive. If there were any problems noted during the last inspection, you will know what to look for the next time.
Benefits of a Beekeeping Journal
- Helps you stay organized
- Can keep track of observations
- Improve beekeeping knowledge
- Helps with planning tasks
- You’ll know what to look for during inspections
- Can compare previous seasons
Different Kinds of Beekeeping Journals
Any empty notebook can be used for a beekeeping journal. You’d have space to write your thoughts and observations independent of any kind of template. This is good for people who may want to draw pictures or write a lot of notes.
Journal With Template
I personally like beekeeping journals with a template. This gives the journal more structure and is quicker to use because the sections are already there to be filled in. Beekeeping journals with templates usually have a hive inspection checklist printed onto each page, as well a space for other notes.
DIY Beekeeping Journal
You can also make your own beekeeping journal using a binder and printing out your own hive inspection checklists, and any other pages you want.
Hive Tracking Software
If you are more inclined to track your hives digitally, there is hive tracking software available. This can be done on the computer or on an app on your phone.
How to Use a Beekeeping Journal Template
Beekeeping journal templates are easy to use. Everything you want to keep track of is printed there for you. Then, if you want to add additional notes, you can write those down too. Every time you do a hive inspection, be sure to write down your findings in your journal.
If you are making your own journal, you can easily print out your hive inspection sheets and put them in a binder. Click here for free printable hive inspection sheets.
Things to Keep Track of
- Hive origin – did it start from a package, swarm, nuc, etc?
- Stage the hive is in – adding brood box, supers, ready to harvest
- Observations from outside the hive – activity, dead bees,
- Sound and smell of the hive
- Capped brood, larvae, eggs
- Colony temperament
- Stored honey
- Queen cups
- Any irregularities
- Signs of mites or other pests
- Any treatment administered
- What to do at the next inspection
A beekeeping journal is a tool that helps beekeepers keep track of their hives. These journals usually come blank or with a beekeeping journal template. You can also make your own by printing hive inspection lists. Beekeeping journals are essential for tracking and planning the beehive colony.