By John Engelsma September 22, 2017
Hopefully by now you all have your mites under control and are well on your way in preparing your hives for winter! If you are operating a hive scale and forwarding your data to the Bee Informed Partnership, as your beekeeping season begins to wind down and you have more time to spare, we’d strongly encourage you to login to the BIP hive scale portal and annotate your scale data.
While many of the “BIP Ready” scales available to beekeepers today collect data well beyond hive weight, the weight of you colony is perhaps the most informative in understanding what is going on in the colony. Technically, it is not the weight so much but the change in weight over time that provides us with a better understanding of the condition of the colony. The weight of the colony is often impacted by factors that are external to the activities of the bees themselves. For example, you the beekeeper, may add or remove equipment, harvest honey, or feed your bees. These activities of course impact the weight of the colony. The weather may also effect the weight of the colony. For example, in a northern climate a major snow storm might result in a significant amount of snow accumulating on the hive’s cover, and subsequently melting over several days.
To help the Bee Informed Partnership better understand / interpret the scale data you send us, it is very important that you login to the portal and annotate these types of events that may impact the weight of your colony. While its better to annotate your data regularly over time, even if you haven’t done this at all in the past, you should be able to tag the most important events for the entire beekeeping season within a few minutes or less. Actually, all of the data (past seasons as well!) is available to you on the portal, so if you tweak the date range on your hive scale graph you can also retrieve and annotate previous seasons as well.
To encourage you to complete this important task soon, we’ve put together a short video tutorial (only 4.5 minutes!) which you’ll find embedded below. Please watch the video and then help improve the quality of the scale data you send us by making sure you annotate our scale data as soon as possible.