Unlike most commercial beekeepers, at Wildflower Meadows we number all of our bee colonies and keep track of each colony individually. Numbering bee colonies is not an original idea, and it adds a significant amount of record keeping and tediousness to each day’s work. However, in our opinion, the information gained is more than worth the extra effort.
Once bee colonies have numbers, a whole world of knowledge opens up. At Wildflower Meadows, we use colony numbers to track the individual queens inside each colony. We can then compare queens of different ages, races, gene lines, histories, and therefore determine what the best performing queens have in common. This information helps us to determine what is working, or not working, and enables us to develop an edge on queen selection and breeding.
Numbering colonies is not only useful for queen producers; beginning and small-scale beekeepers can also greatly benefit from keeping records on each colony. With numbers and records, learning speeds up. Beekeepers can test different practices on different colonies, test new ideas, keep track of the results, and begin to understand what works best for the health and well-being of their bees.