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Inspection software (brilliant)

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Aberteifi, West Wales
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Too many and still growing
Hi guys and gals,
Thought I'd share my experiences of using hive inspection software.
Basically, I built my own. It runs on an iPad and is built using Excel for Mac.
Bit of history first.......
My penchant is for rearing queens so therefore the recording of colony data is extremely important to me.
Previously I'd been using the paper method in the field and then transcribing the info onto the desktop when I'd get home.
However, the problem was that I couldn't see the history of the colony when performing the inspections in the field, which is invaluable when you are trying to be the veritable 'bee detective' onsite.

Moving forwards....
Now I have all the data for all my colonies at my fingertips.
For those who know Excel, I use the 'Validation' function extensively. This means that all (or most) data entry is simply a case of using 'pull down' menus to select the necessary entry required.
The hive file (1 for each colony) carries a pic of the hive (numbered) and it's general location in the apiary so that I can find the box as quickly as possible in the without faffing around too much.
The file also carries the status of the colony and the colour and status of the queen therein. Therefore, when I open the box I know exactly what to expect. (ie Queen status...Is the hive queenless? Is she a virgin? Is she mated and laying? Is she marked and clipped, What colour is she? How many frames of BAS? etc etc)
At this time I only time I use the keyboard function to enter the date and also use a short 4 line 'comments' box should this be required.
After completion of all inspections I head home and simply up load the data to the desktop machine.
I double check all the files and add any additional relevant comments needed.
I don't use the cloud/mobile 4G connections etc simply because in this part of Wales most of my apiaries have little/no mobile signal. Also. I like to 'double check and proof read' my data before uploading to the master file on the desktop. All this to aid accuracy of results. I can then also use the data fields to add to my 'TO DO LIST' next time I visit the apiary. It also highlights important ASAP jobs that need immediate attention prior to the next inspection.
The main inspection data entry points are based around the condition of the colony at the time of the inspection. (ie swarm preps, quietness on the comb, aggressiveness, calmness etc). Points are awarded (or deducted) for each data field that I've set up. I've written the fairly simple algorithms myself (I'm no mathematician by the way) and this gives me a 'score' for the colony and is finally expressed as a percentage. At the end of the season, all the individual file scores are consolidated onto a simple spreadsheet from which I can produce a graph that compares all the colonies as a whole. I can then instantly see which colony has the best scores for the season (and all the seasons before) and these are what I use to help select my breeding queens for next year. Note.... I use the term 'help me' because at the end of the day I still have to use my own personal judgement. The system is simply used as a selection aid.
The whole data entry timeline is approx 1 minute (subject to adding any relevant comments). However, I'm working on this over this winter and hopefully will have 100% validation fields for data entry in the future. Also, I constantly 'tweek' the algorithms to give more accurate/relevant results.
Finally......
Yes....I agree there are minor downsides to using an iPad in the field and any computer system is only as good as the person who's designed/programmed it.
However, as far as I'm concerned I find the whole concept/set up brilliant and would never ever dream of going back to a paper based system.
As the saying goes...'Information is power...power is information'.
 

The Poot in Somerset 

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Wow - impressive.
(How do you get the propolis off the iPad?)
With only four colonies it would be overkill, but it’s annoying just how much I forget between inspections!
 
Joined
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Too many and still growing
Wow - impressive.
(How do you get the propolis off the iPad?)
With only four colonies it would be overkill, but it’s annoying just how much I forget between inspections!
Hi TPiS,
Easy......first off I wrap the iPad in cling film. I can still use all the iPad functions through the cling film even when using nitrile gloves. If I happen to forget, it's simply a case of giving the screen a light spray with isopropyl alcohol and it all comes off with a light cleaning cloth.
 
Joined
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Location
Aberteifi, West Wales
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Too many and still growing
Soak it in a bucket of water and washing soda with your hive tool?
Mmmmm.......Emyr....I tried it once but for some reason it didn't work afterwards :cool: . Saying that, after I put it in the oven for 10mins @ 200c (Fan) it sprung back into life. In fact, it sprung back so well that it became incredibly excited and decided to melt!!:(:mad:.
 

Buzby 

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Are you making it available to others? If it based on excel perhaps it would work on Android systems.
 
Joined
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Location
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Too many and still growing
Are you making it available to others? If it based on excel perhaps it would work on Android systems.
Hi Buzby, Not at this time. It needs a fair bit of refining as it's still a tad rough around the edges. However, I am working on the premise that within the next year or so I may well bring it to market. I wouldn't know about it working on the Android system (Since '87, I've only ever used Macs and Excel). My forte are spreadsheets (Financial and other data analysis). I'll be making a number of changes to the app over the winter but IMHO what it really needs is to be set up using the Dbase function which to be honest I'm totally useless at. I may take the general design/layout to a local software house I've used in the past and see what they can come up with. I've done the hard part already. As long as it doesn't cost me an arm and a leg of course :rolleyes: :rolleyes: .
 

Buzby 

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I think there is a market for this. I use Beetight which I find very good but it's not supported or developed anymore.
 

BigAshW 

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This is great.

I'm working on a similar spreadsheet using Google sheets that will automatically upload to the cloud so I never lose it.
 

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