Recording inspection notes

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Everyone is different: and one person's "brief" notes is another person's Tolstoy essay.

Throughout, my professional career I have kept to the mantra drummed into us during an Engineering course decades ago: "If you don't measure it - you cannot improve it". However, myself - I'm a pictorial person - I think pictorially and note take pictorially.

So my hive notes at the moment are a combination of pictorial form and at a later date notes/code form to fit the "BBKA way of doing things" to enable me to talk to other beekeepers and mentors.

My usual process is something like this: Usually, during an inspection - I just make pictorial notes. Which at a later time I transcribe to notes/code. Then at a later date I summarize the notes/codes into a spreadsheet. I cannot say this is perfect or optimized for efficiency - but I'm still early in my beekeeping journey. So I dare-say that my process will change as I become more experienced.

I've often thought that as body-worn cameras and storage is so cheap these days. It might be easy and cheap enough to just wear a camera and record what I do and what I find. As that magical thing called "AI" becomes more common - I suspect it won't be long before the general public will have access to systems which will run through a recording and transcribe it; and automating such systems are becoming easier. So I am seriously thinking of investigating this further in the future.

Sharing my hive record template... someone might find it useful?
 

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I've only just started making notes as my memory is getting pretty bad. I'm currently writing on the roofs with chalk pen. Seems to be ok a the moment with few hives in one apiary. I think I'd need a diary letting me know which apiaries I'd need to visit If I had more apiaries and hives and then read the roofs when I get there

This is exactly the system I now use, bathing in my own chaos was OK but when I've got people I'm paying phoning me asking what I did last visit, which is costing us, something had to change.
We've a large upright freezer for storing cut comb in the office which is used as a whiteboard for the weekly inspection plan, alongside notes in roofs removed the need for phoning me so much.
I've another whiteboard next to the incubator with the dates cell's were added & their position, this helps with my sanity a lot.
 
Only variables from afunction colony are essential: I make no record of colonies with BIAS, stores, space, without QCs and that are of good temper, and can recall in an apiary of 12 those which perform well, those that are trouble (SW), and those not worth the time (REQ).

Date of splits (SPL), virgin out (VOUT), bad temper or poor Q (REQ) or disease (DIS) and varroa treatment dates (V12.9.24) are useful. Those queenright (Q+) get a brick in line of flight, Q- a brick across; undetermined have a brick at 45.


I agree, but the principle remains sound if pruned ruthessly.
Just found an app which seems to do the trick. Live Transcribe (app) is ready installed on many android phones but on free download also. Simple speech to text (with good accuracy considering my northern accent).
Open the app on the phone, pop phone into top beesuit pocket (reads well at this range) and start the inspection. At the end, copy and paste the text either into a doc. or email and send it to myself. Back home, read through what I have observed and save as much or as little as I need.
Advantages - phone stays clean; can't lose pencil or paper; I can say it as I see it; revisit the inspection from my armchair.
Bound to be a downside but I haven't spotted one yet.
 
This is exactly the system I now use, bathing in my own chaos was OK but when I've got people I'm paying phoning me asking what I did last visit, which is costing us, something had to change.
We've a large upright freezer for storing cut comb in the office which is used as a whiteboard for the weekly inspection plan, alongside notes in roofs removed the need for phoning me so much.
I've another whiteboard next to the incubator with the dates cell's were added & their position, this helps with my sanity a lot.
I was already getting confused which hive was which and what condition they were in the week before with just 5 hive hives. I can't imagine it with 100s. Hopefully, this time next year I'll have 8 to 10 and further increases year after year so needed a system. I'm not sure if I have the correct system yet. Even taking notes, you need an organised mind to do them properly so that you can understand them when you read them a week later. I've already caught myself out not understanding what I meant in the notes :LOL:.
 
My hive notes from previous years are complete gibberish.
I have just bought cheap voice recorder from Amazon, as I struggle to read my own writing in my bee notebook sometimes.
 
I was already getting confused which hive was which and what condition they were in the week before with just 5 hive hives. I can't imagine it with 100s. Hopefully, this time next year I'll have 8 to 10 and further increases year after year so needed a system. I'm not sure if I have the correct system yet. Even taking notes, you need an organised mind to do them properly so that you can understand them when you read them a week later. I've already caught myself out not understanding what I meant in the notes :LOL:.

It doesn't always work, went to a site yesterday that was overdue & queen cell hatched in top box had gone back in the bottom entrance, it was carnage, happened with two from seventeen and my mistake.
 
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confused which hive was which
I was given a tip by a young Czech bee farmer whose family ran 400: don't see them as individual colonies, but as apiaries. If you get the queens right and balance colony strengths, it will reduce thinking because if a flow is on, they'll all need a box, and if swarming...

Still working on it.

Even taking notes, you need an organised mind
Develop a code for variables only, write on or in the roof; send yourself a WhatsApp.

Even taking notes, you need an organised mind to do them properly so that you can understand them when you read them a week later
not understanding what I meant in the notes
Easy: don't write notes.
 
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A suggestion from the SBI today: write your notes in chalk on the roof of each hive once the lid goes back on. At the end of the inspection, transcribe all the notes onto paper, or just walk around the hives with a mobile phone and take a photo of each lid.

James
 
a simple setup with a Bluetooth mic worked well.
Maybe I should try that. I need any recorder I use to record me more clearly for audio to text to be intelligible and a mic might do that. Or maybe I'm a hopeless case, with my accent. Of course I could just listen to the recordings at home but it all takes time.
 

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