Friday, September 27, 2019

Apiary Book's 4th birthday

IT'S APIARY BOOK'S 4TH BIRTHDAY

On 24th of September 2015 the first version of Apiary Book was released on Google Play. It's been a wonderful journey so far.

When I started this project, I wanted to build something that can help beekeepers in their daily activities. And I wanted to give something back to the bees. After all, the bees are very generous with us.


Right now Apiary Book is the most downloaded app for beekeepers from around the world because of you, the community!

As in a beehive, the new queen was helped by a lot of bees to build a strong family.

I want to thank all the beekeepers who sent comments, suggestions, provided support, helped with the translation. Without the efforts of the community Apiary Book would be much poorer.

Yours sincerely,

Bogdan

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Beekeeping in South Africa

Johan Fourie is a agricultural scientist from South Africa and a hobbyist beekeeper since high school years.

He agreed to share information about beekeeping in his country.

"Pollination with honeybees is not very big in South Africa. It is mainly done in the Western Cape province which is one of our main fruit producing provinces. Apples, pears etc. are very dependent on bee pollination, but hive stocking rate is usually so high that there is not much honey production from it. In the Free State province beekeepers move their hives to sunflower fields for pollination and they get good honey yields from that. In the warmer areas like KwaZulu-Natal province along the coast and the Mapumalanga Lowveld areas where subtropical fruit like mango, litchi and now also macadamia nuts are produced, there is always a demand for pollination services. We charge R500 (roughly 35US$)per hive for the macadamia pollination over the flowering period which is from middle August to end October. When the macadamias are irrigated, they produce lots of flowers and the bees can store roughly 10 – 15kg surplus honey per colony in the short period which they are there. The honey is dark, but has a very nice floral flavor.



Our main source of nectar is however Eucalyptus timber plantations which flowers from April to June/July. A strong colony can produce 30 – 50kg Eucalyptus honey per season, but we work on an average of 15 – 20 Kg per hive per season.

The country has the potential to produce enough honey to be able to export honey, but unfortunately we struggle with a very high crime rate and lawlessness in the country. There are a lot of reports of honey theft from beehives and sometimes even vandalizing and destroying whole hives. Apiary sites close to Eucalyptus plantations or other nectar sources which are secure are in bigger demand than the nectar sources themselves. Beekeepers have huge expenses and try all kinds of patents to try and secure their hives against theft, but there’s not really anything that can keep them out completely. We often keep hives on high roofs of sheds for security reasons – this is far from ideal as it puts the bees under heat stress and obviously it is very difficult moving hives and honey supers up and down ladders, but it is a bit more secure than any other option on ground level.

We have two sub-species or races of honeybees which are indigenous to the country: Apis mellifera Scutellata (or “African bee”) and Apis mellifera Capensis (or “Cape bee”).  The Cape bee is generally confined to the western and southern Cape regions. The African bee covers the region to the north and inland of this. The African bee is an aggressive bee with a hardy strain and capable of producing large crops of honey. The Cape bee tends to be a more docile bee (although can also become aggressive when provoked. It has a unique characteristic in that the worker bees (females) have the ability to produce both male and female offspring and thus able to re-queen a colony which has become queenless.  The downside of this characteristic is that it has the ability to parasitise scutellata colonies.  Capensis laying workers invade and subsequently begin to lay their own eggs, challenging the scutellata queen’s ability to control the colony.  The original colony becomes overtaken by Cape bees and will collapse.


We don’t get any help from the government although by law we have to register as a beekeeper with the Department of Agriculture even if you are only a hobbyist beekeeper. The law is not really enforced and many beekeepers don’t comply with it.

We have a national beekeeping organisation and provincial associations which are affiliated to it. It is called the South African Bee Industry Organisation (SABIO) - www.sabio.org.za SABIO organises an annual beekeeping conference – usually in July and the associations have their own info days, training sessions etc."

If you want to share information about beekeeping in your country, please send an email to bogdan@apiarybook.com

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Hive inspections

You can check the number of inspections performed each month for current/previous year or lifetime.



General advice
Don’t inspect the hive too often. Every time you do, you disrupt the hive.

Friday, September 6, 2019

About pollen

"Honey bees preferentially consume freshly-stored pollen.

The freshly-formed composite of pollen, nectar, and oral secretions is briefly more attractive than older stored pollen.

Older stored pollen sources are only likely to be fully consumed once freshly-stored pollen sources are largely exhausted."

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5400263


Monday, September 2, 2019

Monday, August 26, 2019

Hands-free

Get things done, hands-free!

Paulo Ribeiro wrote to us:
"Love your app, but I usually take notes on paper when working on bees because it´s not practical for me to work on the smartphone with gloves on."

Using Apiary Book's Voice Assistant you can talk to the app while you are performing inspections to your hives.



Suggested workflow

1. identify hive using NFC tag
- enable the NFC communication on your smartphone
- touch the NFC tag with your smartphone and the hive details will be displayed
- is it working even if the Apiary Book app is not opened


2. choose Voice action option
- after reading the tag, the Voice Assistant is automatically started


3. answer to the Voice Assistant questions
- create new note
- add new activity (new ToDo item)

4. Your answers are saved automatically in Apiary Book

Sunday, August 25, 2019

BEE grateful

"[...] here are 6 reasons to BEE grateful for our pollinators:
1. They improve our diets by providing micronutrient-rich foods
2. They give us honey
3. They have a great work ethic
4. They make our foods taste better
5. They increase food production and food security
6. They maintain biodiversity"



Monday, August 19, 2019

Importance of bees

One of our objective is to help beekeepers to reduce bee colony losses, we strongly believe this can be achieved by applying best beekeeping practices, analyzing historical data and facilitating communication between all stakeholders involved.

Read the following article, it is about decline of bee population numbers, pesticides impact on bee health, climate change.

https://www.eitfood.eu/blog/post/searching-for-a-plan-bee-the-importance-of-bees-to-a-safe-food-supply


Thursday, August 15, 2019

Calendar

A calendar is helpful in applying the right management practice at the right time.

Plan ahead with your beekeeping, time your colony inspections and manipulations to prevent problems from developing.


Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Hive inspection - Weather

We are consistently search for ways to make our best even better.

Claude sent us the following request:

"Hi Bogdan,
First, thanks for this very useful apps. Continue your good work.
Maybe you already received similar requests, but here are the one that use in my manual reports;

1 - can weather data be included in the inspection activity data?
[...]

Once again thank you for this great apps.

Regards
Claude
Ile-Perrot, Quebec, Canada"


Weather conditions is influencing the visits of  honey bees. On the days characterized by maximum temperature and highest humidity the daily activity of honey bees is decreased.

Adding weather data when recording a inspection can help you analyze and extract useful information that will allow you to make better decisions.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Voice Assistant

Apiary Book's voice assistant allow you to record your beekeeping activities using just the voice.

Please try in your language:
- Take new note
OR
- Define new activity
and use your voice to respond to the assistant questions (title and description for note, subject and description for todo item).


Example (use your language):

Assistant - What can I do for you?
You - Take new note
Assistant - Title?
You - General inspection
Assistant - Description?
You - Inspected all the hives and there are no problems discovered

Friday, August 9, 2019

Voice Assistant

We’re happy to announce a major improvement to the Apiary Book app based on a lot of the feedback we’ve received from our community over the past year.

Apiary Book’s new Voice Assistant app lets you use the app hands-free. It is designed to help beekeepers to record the activities performed in the apiary using just the voice.


Beyond this major feature, here are some of the improvements we’re introducing
- voice assistant - take notes or create todo items using just your voice
- hives graph sort options - name, strength, date
- QR code and NFC tag reading - added more actions
- inspection - add weather info

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Hive identification

If a beekeeper whats to add an activity for a hive, the easiest way is to follow the next steps:
- scan bar code or read NFC code in order to identify the hive
add activities
save record (note, inspection, todo, image)
- move to the next hive


Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Apiary/Hive recording options

There are two options for recording information using Apiary Book:

1. general recording, for all hives in the apiary
- example: added 1 liter of sugar syrup for all hives
- suitable for beekeepers that own a lot of hives
- suitable for users that add just a general note about the feeding

2. recording for a particular hive
- example: added 1/2 kg of protein patty to Hive 1:01
- suitable to beekeepers that own few hives
- suitable to beekeepers that want to note everything for each hive



A beekeeper can choose both options, the list of activities indicate if the record is at the apiary or hive level (the name of the hive is shown).



Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Hive strength

We are constantly getting feedback from beekeepers from around the world. This is helping us to build a better product for all users.

Thank you Nikodém for informing us about this improvement!

"Hi dear Bogdan.
Thanks a lot for your work!

I have one remark to Apiary Book:
We can set "Strength" into "Hive" page, tab "State".
We can set "Strength" into new added "Inspection" too, but this entry is not taken into account into "Hive history" and "Hive graph"
I think this is the same data and should be synchronized.
What do you mean about?
Thanks.

With best regards!

Nikodém Zámečník"


Starting Apiary Book 4.7, if you set "Strength" into a new added "Inspection", the entry is taken into account into "Hive history" and "Hive graph".

Send your idea or suggestion to bogdan@apiarybook.com

Monday, July 29, 2019

Queen transfer

In case you want to transfer the queen from a hive to another, use the <Transfer to> feature:

1. Select the hive from Hives list
2. Press Details in the Queen section
3. Choose option Transfer to
4. Add date of the transfer
5. Select destination hive (i.e. Hive 1-15)
6. Press OK
7. Add description, note, observations
8. Press ADD button
8. The queen is transferred to the new hive


The feature was suggested by Mark Lunny:

"A suggestion for the app.

When performing a swarm prevention manipulation and then later combining hives the queen's move between the hives. However in the app you cannot move the queen data.

I find I am having to enter and delete the data every time. Is it possible to have a way to do this in the app?

Otherwise love the app
Thanks"

Finding out what beekeepers think is the only way that we can give them the best customer experience.

Please send your feedback to bogdan@apiarybook.com

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Replacement of Queens

Why is it recommended to change queens periodically?

- young queens are more prolific in their first year, even some until the second year of life
- maintain healthier colony and less prone to diseases, health of the hive is dependent on the queen
- avoid the action of swarming, which is a natural instinct of reproduction of bees



A strong bee colony, thanks to the vigor of a young queen, will always be more active and productive, will not have problems of moisture or cooling of the nest; more defensive to any invasive pests.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Bees - the most important living beings

"The bees have been declared the most important living beings on this planet, the Earthwatch Institute concluded in the last meeting of the Royal Geographical Society of London. However, according to wildlife experts and scientists, the bees have joined the endangered species long list."



Sunday, July 21, 2019

Our community

Many thanks to Jerzy Sowa for his kind words!

"Używam aplikacji już 2 rok. Mam wszystkie informacje o mojej pasiece w jednym miejscu. Telefon mam zawsze przy sobie. Polecam wszystkim.
Jerzy Sowa
Pasieka Prełuki, Polska"

http://preluki.pl/

"I've been using the application for 2 years. I have all the information about my apiary in one place. I always have a telephone with me. I recommend it to everyone."



Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Hive - Media Gallery

Use photos and videos to document your hive over time, see how the colony develops and what behaviors the bees engage in at each time of the year.

Hive - Media Gallery

Update your app to the latest version 4.6 and start adding media files for a particular hive.


Monday, July 15, 2019

Solutions for keeping track of hives

Here are some solutions for keeping track of your hives:

1. add rocks on top of the hive
2. write with a black marker on the outer cover
3. attach different beekeeping magnets
4. note on paper using pen
5. use apiary management apps (on your smartphone)

Magnets


Advantages of using management software on your smartphone:
- identify hives using bar-codes / NFC tags
- review historical data and decide next actions
- add notes easily after each inspection
- take photos of your hives
- visualize graphs, reports for in-depth analysis
- get reminders for upcoming tasks, activities

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Queen details

Apiary Book 4.5 update is available now!

Now you can visualize easily the queen details and perform specific actions:
- mark as flagged (i.e. old queen, must be replaced),
- add star (i.e. exceptional),
- create reminder (check the queen at the next inspection)
- modify state (capped cell, installed, accepted, emerged, mated)



Info

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Honey extraction

Honey extraction is the process of removing honey from honeycomb.

Here are some steps:
- remove the wax cap on capped honey manually (using a fork)
- place the frames in the honey extractor
- turn on the centrifuge motor, run extracting process for several minutes
- remove extracted frames



Important: do not store extracted frames!

After finishing the honey extraction process, add the frames back to the hives as soon as possible, so bees will clear any honey that is left and reconstruct the comb.




Friday, July 5, 2019

Flagged hives

If you have a hive that need your attention or you want to easily follow up, you can flag it in Apiary Book app. This helps you remember to inspect it later.

Flagged hives are easy to spot, thanks to the red icon.



Examples of flagged hives:
- queen sighted but no larvae are present, you need the check again at the next inspection
- varroa mites detected, schedule a treatment
- bee family strength is low, add a frame with brood from another strong hive 

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Apiary Book 4.4

Apiary Book 4.4 for Android is available, get it on Google Play!

Now you can add to-do list for each individual hive.



You will be notified about the activities scheduled the day before or on that day at 8:30 a.m. So you can easily remember what work you have to do, and never miss an inspection or deadline.

Monday, July 1, 2019

Efficient Hive Inspections

Our recommendations for hive inspection:

- review the notes from the last inspections
- decide if you have to check the hive and look at what is new
- if  inspection is required, examine the bee colony and record all information (population, queen, brood, honey)
- schedule the next activities

Hive ToDo list

Acting like this, you will not have to open every hive every time when you go in the bee yard.

Different hives have issues that need to be dealt with at different times.

Interfering with bee colonies too often may cause problems.  Anytime we open a beehive, we are causing stress to the colony.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Celebrate beekeepers

Apiary Book supports beekeepers like you across the world.

Help us celebrate your journey by taking a selfie of you in your apiary, tagging your name and #ApiaryBook on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.



Answer to the following question: what's beekeeping for you?

We would really appreciate to meet you!

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Remote hive monitoring

Curious about remote hive monitoring systems that provides information on bee colonies status to the smartphone or PC?

A few days ago we installed not one, but two different weight scales together with sensors.



We will present our conclusions in the next weeks.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Hive tracking - methods

You can use the method of taking notes using the black marker to write on hive cover...

The translation:
CHECK!! = inspect the hive next time
Q↑ = queen seen
F↓ = not enough food (honey)


Or you can use your smartphone and Apiary Book app, add notes, inspections and reminders. So you will never forget what is the actual status of your hives and make better decisions.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Celebrating 100.000 downloads

We are extremely excited to announce that Apiary Book has reached a new milestone, with more than 100,000 beekeepers like you downloading our app.

We would like to thank each and every one of you for your support. This would not have been possible without your valuable feedback on how we can continuously improve the app and the new features that should be introduced.



Rated 4.5 on Android Play Store, we are always working towards how we can allow you to manage your apiary and beehives better.

It always warms our heart to hear your stories about how the app has helped you to make better decisions and take better care of your bees. Do share your stories at bogdan@apiarybook.com. We would love to hear from you.

Thank you again for all your support!

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Beekeeping tools - Queen Rearing Calendar

Queen Rearing Calendar is a detailed calendar of events for rearing queen bees.
http://www.apiarybook.com/queenrearing.html

The dates are calculated based on the day the queen laid eggs or grafting day.

Using this calendar a beekeeper will be able to calculate the necessary steps in raising the queens.



Queen rearing is the process by which beekeepers raise queen bees from young fertilized worker bee larvae.

The beekeeper grafts eggs, which are 3 days of age, into a bar of queen cell cups. The queen cell cups are placed inside of a cell-building colony. This colony must be strong, well-fed and queenless. The colony will feed the larva with royal jelly and develops the larvae into queen bees.

After approximately 10 days, the queen capped cells are transferred from the cell building colony to small mating nuclei colonies.

The queen cells hatch inside of the mating nuclei. After approximately 7–10 days, the virgin queens take their mating flights, mate with 10–20 drone bees, and return to their mating nuclei as mated queen bees.

[Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Queen_bee]

Monday, June 10, 2019

Assistant - Floral calendar

The role of the Assistant is to analyse and present useful insights that will help beekeeper to make better decisions.

The Assistant helps beekeepers to identify important information related to your apiary and offers advises.

Example: presenting the  information of the flowering time of  nectar/pollen source available in the current month.


This is specially important to migratory beekeeping, the colonies of bees are moved from one locality to another during a single season to take advantage of two or more honey flows.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Hive timeline

To understand what's happening with your hives, it's important to keep historical records.

You can review easily the beekeeping activities performed for a hive:

1. Open the Apiary Book app
2. In the top left, tap Menu ≡
3. Tap Hives
4. Select a hive
5. The Hive details screen is displayed
6. Choose Timeline
7. Records are displayed.

Timeline contains all the hive records ordered descending by date.



Here are some reasons why you may need to keep records:
- know what to expect at the next inspection
- choose when to make the next inspection
- decide what actions are needed

Friday, May 24, 2019

ExpoTechnoApis Brazil

Apiary Book is dedicated to promote the interest of the beekeepers from around the world.

We are happy to present the first EXPO TECNOAPIS, an event focused on innovation and technology in beekeeping.


The event will be held on July 25 and 26, 2019, at the Exhibition Center of the Rural Union of Dourados, Mato Grosso do Sul and with an estimated audience of over 1,000 participants from all over the Brazil, as well as from Paraguay, Argentine, Bolivia and Uruguay.

The participants will have at their disposal technical lectures, mini courses and exhibitions of equipment, services and supplies for beekeeping.

More details here:
http://www.apiarybook.com/event.html?id=122,
http://www.apiculturaprofissional.com/

You can find about international events here: http://www.apiarybook.com/events.html

Do you want to promote your event?
Send the details of the event to bogdan@apiarybook.com

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Hive treatment - period

Thank you for sending us your thoughts! We really appreciate it since we are always looking for ways to make Apiary Book even better.

Mario Bernasconi wrote:

"Hi, thanks for your fantastic app, we need to have the possibility to mark when you finish a treatment too, not only the beginning.

Different types of treatment are performed. If you used chemical treatments, the most common are distributed by strips and they usually last in the hives 6-8 week (active ingredients that you can introduce as a possible choice are: flumethrin (Bayvarol); fluvalinate (Apistan); Amitraz (Apivar)). Organic treatment are based on organic products such as Thymol; oxalic acid, formic acid, etc. They are performed for a range period of 1 day (oxalic acid) and about 1 month.

Thanks a lot for you app."




Monday, May 20, 2019

World Bee Day

Happy World Bee Day!!!



"To raise awareness of the importance of pollinators, the threats they face and their contribution to sustainable development, the UN designated 20 May as World Bee Day."
https://www.un.org/en/events/beeday/index.shtml

Monday, May 13, 2019

Apiary Book 4.1 Update

Apiary Book's latest update 4.1 is here, and it's full of new features: forages/crops map, hive inspection graph and others. Get it now from Google Store!

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.csg.apiarybook

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Hive inspections

One of the most important tasks any beekeeper can do as part of their inspection is record tracking.

It is one of the most important things all beekeepers can do to help keep healthy colonies of honey bees.


 Key things to look for during an inspection:
- total number of frames with bees and brood
- queen presence
- any sign of diseases/pests
- quantity of honey, pollen
- strength of bee family

Monday, May 6, 2019

Financial graph details

At Apiary Book, we are lucky to have an engaged and passionate community of beekeepers, who submit hundreds of feedback and feature request messages through our support channels and social media.

Jan send us the following email:
"Clicking on a bar on the financial graph that takes you to the record so you can see what the expense/income was could be a welcome feature for apiarybook.

Best regards from a happy apiarybook user,
Jan"



Listening to beekeepers is the most efficient way to improve Apiary Book. Send your idea or suggestion to bogdan@apiarybook.com 

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Forage map

In both stationary and migratory beekeeping, the beekeeper must seek to place his colonies in or near areas where a sufficient quantity of honey plants exists, in season or throughout the year, within the economical flight range of the foragers.



Read more about bee forage and floral calendars here.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Queen Bees

Did you know Apiary Book allows for intuitive sorting of each queen bee from your apiary?

Download the app here and learn to take better care of your bees: http://tiny.cc/b9en5y


Happy Easter 2019

We know that some of you celebrated last week so belated Happy Easter to you and for the rest of you celebrating this week: let's all have a lovely holiday!


Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Hive harvest

Apiary Book 4.0 for Android is out today!

Now you can add the quantities of honey, pollen, pasture, propolis, wax, venom, royal jelly harvested from each individual hive, not only for the whole apiary.


Sunday, April 21, 2019

Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2019

We are heading to The Hague! We’ve been selected as a participant to the Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2019 – an application based event, meant to facilitate growth for tech scale-ups in all industry sectors. We’ll be participating in the event between June 4th-5th and are looking forward to meeting over 2.000 participants from 120+ countries.



More info about GES 2019: https://www.ges2019.org/

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Newsletter

Sign up for the Apiary Book newsletter and get the latest beekeeping and app-related news delivered straight to your inbox!

Meet beekeepers from all around the world and get the best information to help you take better care of your bees.

Sign up here: http://eepurl.com/c-ecFX


Sunday, April 14, 2019

Hive weight

Apiary Book lets you register hive weight details for each individual hive. This will help you learn valuable insight regarding the condition and activities of the honeybee colony, the timing of nectar flow and the quality of the relationship between bees and their environment.


Download the Apiary Book beekeeping app at the link below and use the latest tech to take better care of your beeshttps://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.csg.apiarybook