I had this on my to-do list for a little while. I updated the home page link to point to the most recent hive inspection sheet that I use for checking my bees. The sheet is always being tweaked this way or that and in the latest update I made adjustments so where it makes sense every inspection parameter has a checkbox to make it faster to use.
Hive Inspection Form (PDF)
Getting an Editable Version (.DOCX)
Some ask if they have have the form in Microsoft Word Format so they can adjust it. Sure. The link on the website is .PDF. To get the word version simply click here or go to http://www.bkcorner.org/documents/hive-inspection-sheet.docx
Front, Back or Front + Back
I wanted to take a moment to explain the second sheet. I thought that over time it might make sense to document a hive’s full resources and then compare it over time. At least twice a season I take full inventory of every frame in my hives and then away from the hive I can make a ‘real’ assessment of the colony and not rely on whether or not a hive seems good to me. Brood, food, and bees tell you how strong a colony is and also drawn comb is necessary and having a tool to assess these is IMO a necessary evil.
I have a desire to be less invasive when I do a full inspection so often times I bring out a camera on a tripod and film my top to bottom inspection and then record my notes later. I’ve also verbally recorded what I am seeing so that I can take notes to it later. I’ve devised a frame numbering scheme so I can trace my way through a hive and always, always start my hive inspections from the back and left side. Note: I have all of my hives on stand alone hive stands so I can go all the way around. You can find some of my thoughts about that here. I start with the frame closest to me and depending on the box I’ll call it out as B1 (B=Bottom Box), B2, B3 and so on as I go across the box.
For the sake of the form I allow for six boxes. Three brood chamber boxes and three honey supers but at times I cross the labels out and remark reality – say if I’m inspecting a nuc or something else.
Logbook + Additional Forms
I keep a logbook that has additional forms. These forms keep track of each hives activity over a season and my to-do list. I have it organized with the Next Action Form in the front and each hive has a divider with a hive history form and past inspection sheets. I maintain two yards at the time of this writing so i have my hives organized by yard and then how they are situated in the yard. I keep an active section for each hive that is in operation and remove and archive forms for hives that did not make it through.
Hive History Form
For each hive I maintain a hive history form. This tracks notes on that particular hive and includes where the hive came from, when it was inspected, queen notes, and general comments.
Next Action Form
This form is my to-do list. It has four simple data points. A checkbox to record if something has been done or not. A date when I want to have the to-do done. The name of the hive for the task and a comment on the next action. At the bottom is a notes box for miscellaneous notes. I did a spectacular job in 2017 managing my list with these and hope that you find it useful in knowing how I do it in my own yard.
Usually once a season I tweak the form and then circle back to the site and update it. It might vary here and there over time as practices change. I’ve tried to keep it neutral so it won’t become obsolete but every once in a while things change. I would recommend that if you adopt it you check back once a season to see if there is an update or download the word version for yourself if you don’t want to see it change.
A screen capture.