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Beekeeping benefits a lot when you run the operation while keeping proper records. Both beginner and experienced beekeepers can appreciate the importance of keeping records as a beekeeper, to the best of their abilities. Various factors determine what type of records you can keep in your beekeeping operation. The factors also influence the data or information you capture. Beekeeping records can contain text, numbers, diagrams, pictures, audio captures, and videos in use alone or in various combinations. Technologies applied in beekeeping help with data collection for records, as well as with better storage of the records.
Benefits of Keeping Records as a Beekeeper
Anything you do in beekeeping should have a purpose. Keep records in your beekeeping operation to enjoy the various benefits as detailed below. Use technology that you can access and install for easy record-keeping as well as easy manipulation, access, and sharing of your records. Computers, smartphones, and the internet are the technologies that contribute the most to record-keeping in beekeeping. The benefits you stand to enjoy by keeping records as a beekeeper are:
1. Tracking Inputs into the Beekeeping Operation
Good record-keeping requires keeping track of your inputs. These are anything that you acquire for use in the beekeeping operation. These can be costs when the inputs have a short life. Inputs with longer life such as non-perishable equipment that is reusable do not appear as costs in your records. Having clear and accurate records of inputs allows you to easily tell how much you have spent on the beekeeping operation. It contributes to a quick analysis of profits and losses.
2. Tracking Yields of the Beekeeping Operation
Ensuring the smooth running of a beekeeping operation comes with the reward of yields of various types from your apiaries. It is important that you keep good track of how much of each beehive product you harvest. Thereafter, analysis and compilation of the records of yields give you weekly, monthly, and yearly reports of yields. Additionally, the record may be able to quickly tell you how much you have earned in income from the sale of the beehive products.
3. Tracking Equipment and Tools
Keeping records in beekeeping is useful for the easy location of equipment and tools. In large beekeeping operations, keeping track of equipment and tools can be problematic. Beekeeping operations with apiaries in more than one location are especially affected by this problem. With adequate record-keeping, it is easy to keep track of tools and equipment locations and the persons using them. You are also able to tell who used the equipment last, as well as the person in charge of the tool or equipment if any.
4. Usability State of Tools and Equipment
In the records for tools and equipment, you should include the state of usability. Some tools and equipment may need refilling with consumables such as propane gas, smoker pellets, or bait among others. Those tools and equipment that use electric energy may require you to recharge batteries before the next instance of use. Record such information so that any person accessing the tool or equipment to use it knows what they need to do for the item to be ready for use. Prepare the tools and equipment in advance, as appropriate, so that they are ready to go when you need them.
Additionally, ensure you clean tools and equipment before storage. Clean tools are easy to oil and grease, as well as easy to store in preservation. Take steps to ensure that your stored tools and equipment do not get damaged in storage, or suffer corrosion on important surfaces.
Recording Damaged and Broken Tools and Equipment
Using tools and equipment subjects and exposes them to elements, forces, and energy types of varying effects on them. Some of the tools and equipment may get damaged or broken. Damaged tools and equipment are not suitable for use. Broken ones need replacement. Capture any such damage and breakage of tools and equipment in the beekeeping records that you keep.
You may include the working or operation conditions under which the tool or equipment suffered damage or breakage. Recording the damage and breakage suffered, and the working conditions help you avoid repeating the damage and breakage of similar tools and equipment. It also helps you to plan for repairs and purchasing replacements.
Record the Tools and Equipment You Lend Out
Lastly, have records of the tools and equipment that you lend out to other beekeepers. Many beekeepers have friends in beekeeping circles. Your beekeeping friend may borrow a tool or equipment they need, which they do not currently have.
It is selfish on your part if you refuse to lend them the tool or equipment without a valid reason. This is because they might need the item to carry out a critical beekeeping activity. By denying them use of the tool or equipment, you put their beekeeping operation at risk of not achieving its full potential. Friendliness is good in beekeeping because you might also need assistance from fellow beekeepers in the course of running your beekeeping operation.
If you lend out any tool or equipment, record the name of the item you have given out and the person to whom you are lending the item. You may also capture more details of the tool or equipment such as the model, serial number, and colour among others.
Despite being able to borrow tools and equipment from fellow beekeepers, it is good that you purchase your own tools and equipment. Plan adequately to acquire the best quality tools and equipment for your beekeeping operation in a timely manner.
Borrowed tools and equipment can cause strained relations between beekeepers due to late return of the borrowed items, damage to the items, and losing the items among other causes.
It is also possible for the borrowed tools and equipment to spread diseases, pests, and parasites among others between beekeeping operations. Make sure to clean and sanitize borrowed items before you return them to their owners. Equally, take time to clean and sanitize the borrowed items that are returned to you.
5. Progressively Tracking Growth and Progress
Clearly seeing your growth and progress at any time as you run your beekeeping operation is desirable. You are able to see this growth visually and in derivations based on the records that you keep. Identifying the growth and progress you have achieved, boosts your morale to keep running the beekeeping operation.
It also helps guide your beekeeping operation to meet its goals because you are able to make adjustments and changes as soon as you notice something is wrong or not optimal. Easily showing growth and progress also helps you to benefit from emerging opportunities, that may require you to show progress for consideration as a beneficiary.
6. Calculating Profitability of the Beekeeping Operation
Records of your incomes and expenditures are important for calculating the profitability of the beekeeping operation. You can do this periodically to determine if you need to change any aspect of your beekeeping operation. Calculating the profitability of the operation informs you of the most productive periods of time, the best-performing beehive products, and the best beehive, among other information.
Once you have evaluated profitability, you can make subsequent plans for your beekeeping operation. Such plans could be to downsize or expand expenditure to make and changes about targeted products among other plans.
7. Justifying Value to Financial Institutions
When you need to get services from financial institutions, you are required to show various types of records. The institutions often require specific types of records to use in assessing the value of your beekeeping operation. Such records may not be easy for you to keep if you are not a professional accountant or trained on how to keep business records. You would thus require the services of a professional to prepare the records for you.
Do not be worried if you do not have the specified types of records. Financial institutions will gladly work with your simple records. If necessary, hire a professional to prepare the required records. They will find the going easy if you provide them with the simple records that you keep. It translates into the work getting done quickly, and you are likely to pay less for the services of the professional.
In such an event where you should make and present a specified type of record, you may also use record-keeping software applications that are specific to beekeeping. They will be useful in generating some part of, or all of the records you need.
8. Accurately Informing Relevant Authorities
Beekeeping is an agricultural practice. You might know the art by its more agricultural name – apiculture. Many aspects of agriculture have regulatory authorities that may require you to communicate with them. The communication may be periodic or when special circumstances arise. In beekeeping, noticing some diseases, parasites, or pests of honeybees requires you to notify such authorities.
Of course, the need to notify the authorities depends on the laws, rules, and regulations that apply in the jurisdiction you are in. When informing the regulating authorities and your fellow beekeepers of notable issues, it is important that you have accurate information. Records you keep can be a great source of proof that what you are telling the authorities is true. Other proofs you can provide the authorities are photographs, sketches, and laboratory results if you have any.
9. Sharing Data and Information with Other Beekeepers
Sharing data and information with other beekeepers is common in beekeeping. Individual beekeepers are often in clubs and other organizations for beekeepers. They share resources of various types and importance as they interact with each other in these clubs and organizations.
You may need to share data and information with these other beekeepers at some point in time. When you do, having records helps ensure accuracy. It is helpful and useful to those you share it with than when you do not have records to improve the accuracy of what you are sharing.
If the events, activities, and occurrences you are sharing happened in the past, you might have forgotten important data and information. Whatever you might forget or omit in verbal sharing is addressed well by having records. Any type of relevant records you share is good for the job in such cases. It can be digital records or non-digitized records presented on paper.
10. Diagnosis of Problems, Diseases, and Any Errors
Records save you time and improve accuracy when you are diagnosing problems in your beekeeping operation. With records, you can easily tell when a certain problem started occurring. You can also see the impact it has had on the operation during the time it affected your beehives.
The records that you make of the problem are great for comparison when you need to consult other people about the problem. You should therefore, aim to have good records so that the diagnosis of problems, diseases, and errors in operations is easy, fast, and accurate.
Types of Records in Beekeeping
Depending on various factors, beekeepers have different capabilities in record-keeping. Some may be well-versed, while others have significant challenges in keeping records. With knowledge of how to read, write and count, any beekeeper is capable of keeping useful records. Detailed and specialized records that more professional beekeepers may keep are the exception, not the norm.
Both beginner and experienced beekeepers are able to keep good beekeeping records using the resources they can easily access. With training in record-keeping, the beekeepers are able to keep better records that are more useful in their beekeeping operations. The types of records that beekeepers keep are thus of two major types:
1. Simple Records
These are simple records that feature few columns of data and are not detailed. Simple records have a format that is not complex and may capture little data. They are easy to keep, read and analyze. In simple records, there may not be many types of features included. Commonly, simple records contain text, numbers, and very few images or illustrations. A major advantage of simple records is that anyone can use them with ease.
2. Detailed Records
These are complex records that have many data points and follow a specific format. Detailed records are usually prepared by professionals. In beekeeping, capacity-building training about recordkeeping helps beekeepers know how to keep detailed records. Additionally, specially prepared tools for capturing data such as special books and software applications help you to keep detailed records without much difficulty. Detailed records can be difficult to read and understand when they are used to communicate information to persons other than the beekeeper that made the records.
Storing records is an important part of record-keeping. Using poor storage techniques causes records to get damaged. They may become unusable or remain only partially usable. Common methods of storing records are:
Electronic storage of records is a reliable method in beekeeping. It ensures that the records you keep are easy to access, analyze and share. In electronic storage, the records remain accurate and complete. A disadvantage of electronic storage of records is the ease of erasing records, and the possibility of unauthorized persons accessing the records. This is especially a great risk when the records are accessible or store online.
2. Non-Electronic Records
These are typically paper records. In non-electronic records, data and information is held in a form in which you cannot access them electronically. Most non-electronic records can be digitized into electronic form for backing up or to ease access. Some non-electronic records are prepared as backups to electronic records. Records that are in the non-electronic form are not easy to read, take up a lot of storage space, and are not easy to share with other beekeepers, authorities, or interested persons.
Information in Beekeeping Records
Different types of data and information are in the records you prepare in beekeeping. This is despite the type of records you keep, how you collect data and information, and how you store the records. Common types of data and information found in beekeeping records include:
These are recordings of what you see. Observations are a great type of information for beekeeping records. They make referencing the records at a later time useful by detailing conditions, positions, colours, and other aspects of things as you saw them. You can also record observed behaviour and interactions you see in the course of running the beekeeping operation.
2. Activities Carried Out
Records in beekeeping contain information about activities that you carry out. These activities may be recurrent or not. With repeated activities, you can use the records you have of the activities to prepare materials such as plans and checklists. The impact of various activities is also easy to identify from beekeeping records.
3. Purchased Items
In your beekeeping records, you are sure to include data and information about items you purchase for use in the beekeeping operation.
4. Sold Items
Sales of items are recorded in beekeeping records. They are useful for accurate tracking of equipment and tools.
BeeKeepPal – Beekeeping Records Software
BeeKeepPal is an advanced electronic record-keeping tool for the beekeeping industry. Advanced record-keeping tools in beekeeping improve data processing. They are able to break down data for your easier understanding. Computer technologies are used in such advanced tools to make a lot of things easy for you, the beekeeper. You can access these software applications through your computer or smartphone or tablet.
How BeeKeepPal Works in Keeping Records as a Beekeeper
BeeKeepPal compiles data into useful information that you can understand easily. Depending on your selection, the software shows you the results of its computations in averages, per set periods of time, and even suggests improvements you can make among other report presentations.
Do Advanced Tools for Keeping Records in Beekeeping Vary?
These tools vary widely from one tool to the next. Features in one tool may be present or missing in the next tool you access. Use them to your advantage and benefit. Naturally, some advanced record-keeping tools in beekeeping are more comprehensive than others. They are thus adequate with no need for you to use supplementary tools.
- BeeKeepPal is one such tool that has all the features you need in one software application.
- You can access BeeKeepPal via your computer browser, or through an Android App for supported smartphones and tablets.
- A BeeKeepPal app for iOS is currently under development.
Features of BeeKeepPal
There are many useful features of BeeKeepPal that work very well for keeping records as a beekeeper in your beekeeping operation. They include, but are not limited to;
With BeeKeepPal, you are able to record many things about your beekeeping operation. You can record data and information at various levels such as the Company level, the Apiary level, and the Beehive level. This enables the software application to prepare accurate and detailed reports to inform you of how your beekeeping operation is performing.
BeeKeepPal picks data that you input into the software and calculates an impressive variety of results for you. The results show a clear picture of how well your beekeeping operation is faring. Additionally, the application uses the results from calculations when preparing reports and making recommendations for you.
Tracking Employees, Tools and Equipment
This software application makes tracking of employees, tools, and equipment a breeze. It also allows for recording of the state of usability of respective tools and equipment.
Applications of BeeKeepPal in beekeeping are numerous. You can record activities, and even use the application as a scheduler for events and activities. The software sends you reminders so that you do not miss the important events and activities that ensure you run your beekeeping operation in the best way possible.
A lot of information has gone into the databases and final development of BeeKeepPal. Based on past experiences and established facts, the software can give you recommendations on what to do in some instances. It helps you identify problems and solve them in very little time.
Displaying Reports and Printing Them Out
A very useful feature of BeeKeepPal is the software application’s ability to display and allow you to print out reports. Other sets of information are also possible to print out, such as beehive inspection records.
Keeping records as a beekeeper has many benefits to your beekeeping operation. Use the resources you are able to access to ensure you keep the best records that you can. Additionally, make the best use of available technologies to improve your record keeping.
Electronic records are easier to read, manipulate, interpret and share. They also require greater security measures to keep and use. Paper records are more secured but also not easy to share in comparison to electronic records.
Whatever records you keep are useful and will help you achieve more in your beekeeping operation. The importance of keeping records as a beekeeper is clear, and the records you keep could even benefit your fellow beekeepers.