We beekeepers love to work with our hands, don’t we? It’s a very manual job.
The downside is all the heavy lifting, which when done incorrectly, can do a lot of damage. Even then, we stick with it.
One of the reasons why we do is because some of the work has gotten easier.
If we think back to when the Langstroth hive was invented, that definitely made inspections easier.
Now we have the Flow hive which is a revolutionary way to harvest honey.
There are gadgets that even allow you to monitor your hive in the winter without opening it up by using infrared technology.
Now, technology has once again come through to arm us with vast information about our precious bees and help with record keeping.
We shall explore the most popular apps for beekeeping and what they have to offer.
Hivekeepers for Beekeepers
This is a very popular app for hobbyists and commercial beekeepers alike.
It allows you to record information about your apiaries, hives and even frames separately. That’s really great for analyzing the strength of local traits vs purchased colonies.
Closer to home, you have colonies that you purchased from a breeder in another state.
You can use this app to capture vital information on the productivity of the queen, her brooding pattern, resistance to pests and diseases and even honey production.
The great part about this app is the ability to update your records using photographs.
Very early on, I didn’t know how long it took for the bees to cure the honey.
With this, you can learn by taking pictures as they continue to fill, cure and cap the honey.
That way, you will be able to discern a pattern for the coming years and accurately determine when to harvest based on your records.
Records analysis has to be the biggest advantage of this app.
Over the years, you can look at the performance of your colonies.
It even provides notifications if you neglect a hive for too long. This is a great tool to add to your beekeepers kit.
This app is a great inspection assistant. It allows you to record the details of each colony.
Without having to type out any words, you can quickly record the temperament of the girls, the presence of brood, and the presence of the queen, either evidenced by eggs or by seeing her.
You just need to tap your screen and you have a very comprehensive record of your inspection.
The records tab will act as a checklist, reminding you to check for all the vital signs of your colony’s health and wellbeing.
For instance, is your queen marked? This would be especially useful after the swarming season.
Sometimes you can do everything right and the colony still swarms.
If you’ve noticed a difference in the behavior of the colony, it may be time to check for the queen.
A quick glance at the checklist will remind you to look for your queen and check if your marked queen is still in control.
As a beginner, it’s usually advisable to begin with at least 2 colonies.
Since the app allows you to record the strain of bee that you have, you can compare and contrast their performance.
It’s a quick tool to use on the go and the developers of the app respond to queries and complaints should you have any.
HiveTracks Mobile App
If your apiary is someplace outside in the wilderness, then this app is definitely for you.
The recording is done offline, so you don’t need to worry about cell service and WiFi signals.
It keeps a record of your hives based on the GPS coordinates that don’t need cell service to work.
Once you’re at the apiary, you can utilize your hands to get the job done as you make an audio record of your visit.
That makes it so much easier to capture all the vital information and you have less items to juggle during your inspection visits.
If you see something particularly significant, you can just take a picture and then continue with your audio recording.
Once you’re back within range, the app will upload your information and merge it with the account previously set up.
It’s quite simple to use.
Bee Health App
There’s no doubt that bees are under attack by…us.
Well, perhaps to be more precise, we have created an environment that is wiping them out at an alarming rate.
By moving colonies across the world, we have exposed them to pests and diseases they are not equipped to deal with.
Part of the problem is a lack of information.
In order to help the bees, we need a better understanding of the challenges they face and the treatment options for them. This free app is just what beekeepers need.
It’s great for beginners who are just starting out. The first year of beekeeping is really difficult.
There’s so much information to keep in mind. A century ago, beekeeping was simple.
Just place the hives at a convenient place and let the bees do all the work.
Now, you need to worry about mites, monitoring their numbers and rotating treatments.
You need to worry about diseases that affect brood and how to prevent them.
You need to learn to diagnose diseases affecting the adult bees.
All this is greatly aided by this app that is a handy reference tool.
It has pictures of the various pests and disease you may encounter, with updated scientific information on treatment options.
Information is a must have in your beekeeping kit.
One look at this application and you can tell that there is definitely a beekeeper behind this app.
There are lots of people who are content to keep their records the old fashioned way.
Pen and paper never really go out of style, but they have challenges.
One of them is that analyzing trends, especially over a period of years can be taxing. I reserve that energy for doing my taxes.
This comprehensive app allows you to record every single aspect of beekeeping.
From queen genetics and age to colony movements, the app has been developed to capture all the vital information you need to build healthy colonies long term.
There is even an assistant on the app to help the beginner with basic information.
The capacity of the app is such that it will accommodate your growth. You can add apiaries and hives as your hobby or business grows.
Another valuable feature is the reminders offered by this app.
Sometimes you have a hive that is set up separately from the others. Out of sight, out of mind.
When you’re just beginning, you would think that this is an unlikely scenario but as you expand, sometimes a few things slip your mind.
This will help to remind you to look in on that lone ranger colony, to keep them healthy.
Available in 14 languages, this is a great tool to have.
This is your ultimate pocket sized all-things-bee thesaurus. Everything you need to know about bees is packaged on this mobile app.
Even after losing dozens of colonies, so many beekeepers stick with it because once you fall in love with these beautiful creatures, its forever.
Even so, the journey is rocky.
The only way to prepare is to gather information before and during.
Sure, there’s a lot you will learn on the job, and the learning never stops. But you do need a place to start.
What better foundation than one that aims to simplify this beautiful practice with an all-you-can-read knowledge buffet.
Maybe you don’t like your regular textbook format and want to see what’s current…
What debates are currently going on?
What are the new findings on varroa?
What cool gadget can you try to make your beekeeping experience a little easier?
The app has you covered.
They provide videos and podcasts that talk about all current beekeeping topics.
There’s even an audiobook included that you can listen to offline.
Your hardcopy books make for great coffee table reads, but since we are often on the go, this app is just the tool you need to keep yourself updated.
BeePlus Beekeeping Manager
This is a fantastic app available on the apple app store.
Remember everything you used to put down on your notebook?
It’s all here and they’ve even added some information that you may have forgotten to include.
For instance, how often do you note down the weather on a day of inspection?
This may seem whimsical and you may set this aside for the poetic beekeeper, but it has scientific weight.
But why not go back to your records and look at your previous inspections.
What was the weather like that day? You might notice that their testiness was caused by excessive humidity.
Once you’ve given them a week or two and you get a break in the weather, you may inspect them and find they are the calm girls you have grown to love.
It’s also a great tool for tracking your bee equipment, for instance, supers. You can quickly scan your records and establish how many supers you need to add for nectar flow.
You have the unique QR codes for the hives and the app has the capacity to allow pictorial records of your hive visits.
If you are an Apple product user, this is a great app to have for your beekeeping activities.
Here’s another winning beekeeping app for you.
The dashboard includes tabs that allow you to record the strength of your colony by adult and brood population, the status of your queen (virgin or mated) and even the ratio of syrup used.
This free app has the capacity to accommodate both the hobbyist and the commercial beekeeper.
For those with dozens of hives, they have an express inspections option, where data on colonies that show similar characteristics can be entered at once, rather than making individual entries.
This can all be done in the field because the app does not require a cell signal for data entry.
Once you’re back from the wilderness, you can use the sync function to upload all your new information to the cloud.
One of my favorite features is the export capability, which allows you to convert your analyzed data into spreadsheets for your viewing and sharing pleasure. This is particularly helpful as an educational tool.
You could be a beginner today, but a trainer tomorrow and using your own apiary as a case study is a great way for your students to get a practical view of beekeeping.
Their slogan says it all. Focus on what matters, which is your beekeeping. The app makes record keeping effortless.
Bee Appy – Hive Management
I’ll go straight to my favorite feature on this app. That’s the feedback channel they use.
How many times have you used an app and thought, does whoever built this know anything about what the real world scenario is?
Well, the Bee Appy people have thought this part through and using Trello, ensure that you can provide valuable information on the features you most value on the app as they continue to improve it.
In addition to that, it provides you with all the things that a helpful inspection tool does.
An easy to follow checklist is the cornerstone of any beekeeper, and the app simplifies this so that data entry comes down to just a few seconds.
This is a great app to have as both a beginner and as a seasoned beekeeper.
The app you choose should make your work easier.
If you work gloveless, then it’s easy to go with an app that allows you to tap in your findings.
If you would prefer to keep your hands gloved, then a voice activated option would be better for you.
Let’s not forget that even though an app does not allow you to record information, it can still be valuable because it provides you with information.
The beauty of apps is that you do not need to limit yourself to just one. As long as you find it useful, why not try it.