If you're like me, the older you get, the tougher it is to remember some things. While I'm good with some stuff, its the other things I worry about that I've possibly forgotten. I don't just mean in beekeeping either, I mean all sorts of things.
But for a good while, I've been looking for a really good way to keep up with information about my bee colony, especially since I'm expanding this year. My friend, Jared (of Jared's Adventure into Beekeeping) made up a really good hive records program using Excel. I altered it somewhat to suit my needs; Jared is more the research aspect of beekeeping while I'm more interested in just making sure I'm doing the right thing every time I open my hive. For me, having a way of recording information makes sure I check for certain things and do something when necessary.
While I was tooling around on Facebook, I saw an advertisement for a FREE bee hive records system called BeeTight. A second year beekeeper (like myself) named Matt, who is in Cornwall in southwest England, developed the Internet based records system. The free version allows you to keep records for up to six hives, and you can also pay for the full version which allows you to maintain records on up to 1,000 hives. And for a back-up, you can even print out your records. Its very basic but includes information that you may need at some point in the future; what works, what doesn't...etc.
On the BeeTight website, Matt says, "I set out to replace the paper or spreadsheet-based records that most beekeepers seem to use, so its first job is to handle records of inspections. I spent some time looking at examples of record sheets and tried to take the best of them. To that end, it records laying pattern and temperament on a six-point scale. You can also say whether you have seen the queen, or eggs. There is space to record any queen cells spotted, or whether there are excessive drone cells. You can record varroa drop counts, as well as any treatments that you may have given. Finally, you can keep track of when and how much you have fed them."
All it takes is an email address and setting up a password. And even though it automatically sets itself up on the Metric system, you can change your account settings to the U.S. Imperial system. And it doesn't matter what type of hives you have. Langstroth, top-bar, Warre, or even nucs -- you can register your hive types (and even more types are included). You can include the source of your colony, race of queen, when you hived your colony, medications, etc. As I said, its very basic, but includes some information that may be helpful in dealing with your hive.
While I plan to continue to use my Excel based records system for now (so I can continue to track weather information and more) -- I plan to use this BeeTight system too since it is simple to use.
If you're needing a basic way of keeping records on your bee colonies, and you have less that six hives, I would recommend you give this a try. And what can it hurt? After all, its FREE!