Logbook for beez

We’ve got two hives but our dad gave us free rein to take care of one of them. He helps us of course, but we just don’t take his word for everything and we like to do our own research on stuff. He is after all a rookie too and only started keeping bees just a few years ago.

So, we want to start to keep a logbook, or journal. Can anyone suggest what’s the best way to go about doing this?

Is there a free app, or is it better to take manual notes. If that’s the case what should we note? Is a spreadsheet a better way to do it?


Find yourself in this image?

Logbook can be any book you fancy— I use an electronic tracker as part of my BroodMinder digital weight and temperature/humidity setup rather than paper so its always with me on my iPhone. It works well enough for me but has some limitations of how long it stores the data so I would recommend just using a notebook of paper. There are some fancy ones that you can use in bad weather that I think is overkill. If you have an iPhone I would say just use the Note application and start recording what you did after your fingers aren’t sticky and you’ll be fine.

I use my word processor on a computer and all of my hives have a number. As I finish working on a hive I write down what I have done and observed and when I get home I re-open the bee file and add the date, then the hive number and as much detail as I like about what I have done on each hive. Then save and close the file. Each year I begin a new file.
I haven’t seen a ‘bee keeping log book’ type of program that is better than just a word program but some way of keeping records is a must and if you can add a photo to it so much the better.

I’m inclined to use a google spreadsheet. I don’t know whether it is important to record what you find in each frame. For example:

date, time, weather
frame 1: 80% honey
frame 2: x% honey, x% pollen, x% worker brood

Is that too much information, or is it better just an overall observation and whether queen was found. I do not know what will be relevant when I go back to it and see the progress. I don’t want to end up with too much irrelevant note taking that I end up not taking any down the track.

Is it actually necessary, or relying on memory is sufficient with one/two hives?

Any way you want to record the hive is the right way for you. You may have two hives and the next day remember what you did to each of them, but what about in several weeks time when you are planning your next inspection. I just record date, hive number(I have 35), weather, if the bees were ok or hot to handle, general observations, did I see the queen and note if she was marked. any issues and what I did in the hive and finally anything needing doing on the next inspection. Anything extra like individual frames is a waste of time for me but with you as a beginner you might find it interesting to be able to refer back.
Your profile only says your in WA, maybe you can edit it to be “Perth foothills WA”.

Hi @BooBees. Do you have a purpose for the journal in mind? Without purpose record keeping gets old very quick. When you find what interests you it will become quite obvious what records you want to have. Probably would be better to lay the journal idea aside for while. After some time you may realise what information you need but cannot remember. It will form the basis for the journal :slightly_smiling_face:


That’s a good question. Not really is the answer. I was hoping that it will come in handy in managing the hive and remember what was observed on last inspection, and what to follow up on on the next inspection.

From the lack of replies can I safely conclude that not many keep any logbook at all?

I use Hivetracks. Not free, but very good. It is only about 5 dollars per month to subscribe.

Cheers Dawn, being a student can’t justify 100AUD a year at this stage. It will eat away all our honey profits :weary:

In what way do you find it useful in managing the hives if I may ask?

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I have 2-3 hives, and it can be hard to remember which has a great brood pattern, which is low on stores, which needs frames rotating out as they age, which has one or two frames ready for harvest and what the position number in the box of those frames is. Also, I need to treat for varroa, so I can record varroa mite counts and what kind of treatment I did on a certain date. That way I know when to recount and retreat. Very useful to me. :wink:


Cool, that’s how I thought keeping notes would be useful. Except for varroa which fingers crossed we hope we never get.

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I understand exactly what you are saying Dawn, I was out at my hives all day and if I hadn’t taken taken paper notes to transfer it to my computer I wouldn’t have a clue what I had done. For me any records on my computer is worth gold to me. When I close a hive I have to take notes about that hive. Some might have recall but I’m not one of them. :worried:

I just take photos and post them here… that’s my log book :wink:


Hi Peter, I was thinking that the easiest and most practical thing for me is to just keep a paper notebook, I can’t see much benefit duplicating work inputting them on the computer.

I can write on the notebook with the gloves on so I can do it on site. I can’t use my phone to type with gloves on.

That’s an idea. :grinning: One day, when I know what I’m doing…

“Okay google”… ‘siri’… :joy:

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That’s why I post my photos here… wealth of experience to let me know what I took photos of :grinning:

Tried Siri, she always gets my accent wrong.

Try asking Siri about my username here :sweat_smile:


Well that is what I do on site but my notes are in a crazy shorthand so I transfer with corrected spelling to my computer, but you do what works for you and I’m sure you will modify what you start with as you need to. Bee keeping is a lot about doing what suits you and your climate and the bees will often either do as you expect or throw you off in a different direction. Amazing how often you can figure out what is happening and the bees can change the rules of the game.

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Not just siri Boo. :face_with_hand_over_mouth:
Some like to pin notes on the hive itself, pretty sure MP or MB do.
I mostly wing it. I do write the hive, frame numbers down and date once I have harvested but that’s about it myself. Like fffffffffred I use past posts here to reference things like seasonal flows.