Hive records – why and how to keep them

Courtesy of Paul and Lynne Honigmann of Oxfordshire Natural Bees, invaluable hive observation forms specifically for Natural beekeepers. Document remains copyright of the author Paul Honigmann.

Oxfordshire Natural Beekeeping Group

Natural beeks often do not conform to many of the practices of more conventional beeks, one example being that intrusive hive inspections are much less frequent. Observations made at the hive entrance and through windows normally provide sufficient information to judge the ongoing health for most purposes; full inspections are only carried out infrequently and with different emphases than for other beeks. For example, we are not usually looking to stop swarming or to artificially supersede a queen.

Because of this difference in approach, the more standardized hive record cards that conventional beeks use are not so directly useful to the natural beek. In my experience, many natural beeks keep records of their own devising, either individualised hive cards or an observations notebook – however the approach varies from beek to beek and is often not very consistent or easily cross- referable.

Here I share my own record forms devised…

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