If you’ve been on any decent course about beekeeping – Julian’s being one such! – you will have been encouraged to keep records of each of your hives. This is a good practice for several reasons – we tend to forget if things aren’t written down, and it’s useful to be able to compare between hives – either your own, or perhaps with another local beekeeper in your mentor group.
If you use such a scheme throughout the season, you will quickly get used to judging your colonies – and have a record of which colonies are your “keepers”, and which might need “upgrading” with a new queen in the late summer, or spring. Attached, you’ll find posted a record card that you can use. You could even laminate it, so that it can be left inside the roof of a hive, and written on with permanent marker pens.
Apiary card content based on Eigil Holm’s “Queen breeding and bee genetics”, and the NBU’s “managing varroa” booklet.