Hive Tracks beekeeping software is a hive management software package for both hobbyists and commercial beekeepers. It features a website for managing your account, adding and editing yards, and adding and editing hives.
Hive Tracks Beekeeping Software
Since I was not given access to the commercial version of this software, this review is specifically for the non-commercial version.
One of the coolest features of Hive Tracks is the interactive maps, both of your yards, and all public hive tracks yards currently in the Hive Tracks database. This gives you the ability, by using concentric rings, to see how far your bees are foraging and to see if any food or water sources exist for them within those rings.
It also allows you to see all other registered Hive Tracks users public hives and yards, and how their distance rings overlap yours. This enables you to see other yards which your bees can reach for the purposes of drone flights and queen mating.
The website itself has control for you to edit your account, change your settings and many other features such as:
- Create to-do lists, and print them to take with you to your yards.
- Manage media, upload photos, and videos.
- Track your beekeeping equipment inventory by "in use", "not in use" and "totals".
- A calendar allows you to plan and maintain records of all activities.
- My Map feature uses a Google maps plugin to display your yards on google maps, with concentric rings at 1, 2, and 3 miles.
- Global Map feature shows all Hive Tracks users public yards, with the same concentric rings, so you can see who overlaps you. Luckily there is a setting to keep your yards private, as this feature could be used as a map to hives ripe for stealing by nefarious individuals.
- A Community feature which allows you to create a community of beekeepers. These are basically like Facebook groups.
- Reports feature, allows you to generate online and PDF reports of your metrics, as well as print inspection forms, and generate QR codes to tag your hives.
- Add or remove yards.
- Add or remove hives and assign them to yards.
- Setup very detailed hives, including equipment, queen age, status, inspection records, mite counts and about 50 other metrics.
- Queens section to monitor queen age, status, perfomance, history, and generate queen specific reports.
- Monitor honey harvests, which hive, how much, etc.
Hive Tracks beekeeping software also features a free IOS or Android app for syncing data between the website and your phone. Features of the app are not as robust as the website and serve to allow you to record data points from your phone and upload them directly to the website. Features of the phone app include:
- GPS tracking and updating, this allows you to record the exact coordinates of your yards and hives using your phone's built-in GPS.
- Yard selection, to select the active yard and therefore the hives list for the hives you are working at.
- Hives list to allow selection of the hive you need to add or edit records for.
- QR code reader, to allow quick editing of the particular hive which corresponds to that QR code. The QR code is read by your phone's camera.
- Edit Hive data
- Inspect the hive, which allows you to record all of the data points.
- View prior inspection data for that individual hive.
- Take photos and video of your hives, and attach those to the hive record of a given hive.
- Take audio recordings of verbal notes, and attach them to the hive record of a given hive.
- Edit installed equipment on a hive in the field.
In researching this product, it became apparent to me that I would like to see a few features which at the time of this review, were not in the product.
- The ability to add a yard, or a hive for a yard, from the phone app, and have that data sync to the website instantly if you have cell access, or cached for later syncing if you are out of range. This currently has to be done on the website itself. For a product which purports to rid you of the need for pen and paper, or notebooks, it lacks the ability to use the phone to add hives when you need it most, which is in the yard. Imagine getting to the yard and having to make several splits. With no internet access or cell coverage in your yard, pulling up their website is impossible. This means without a cell connection at that yard, there is no way to add these new hives from the field. This requires you to depend on the old trusty notebook, or remember everything in your head until you get back to a place where you can connect to your cell service or the internet at home.
- The ability in the "Inventory" section of the website to record whether you loaned that equipment or not, and to who. It is common for beekeepers to loan equipment. It is more common to forget who you loaned that equipment to, or forget who loaned it to you! The current data points for "Inventory" allow you to record quantities of "total, In-use, and not-in-use". A simple checkbox for a "loaned out/in" and a text box for "from/to" included in the Inventory tool would be amazing.
Hive Tracks beekeeping software Cost
The product is fairly priced, and the company itself is upfront and honest about it's pricing structure with no hidden fees waiting for you once you sign up. They provide a 14-day trial on all plans. The plans they offer all provide the same features, only the trackable hives allowed determines the price point. Those price points are as follows:
- Hobbyist - Full featured, up to 10 hives tracked for $5.00 per month.
- Enthusiast - Full featured, up to 20 hives tracked for $10 per month.
- Sideliner - Full featured, up to 100 hives tracked for $20 per month.
My Opinion, Pro's Vs. Con's
Hive Tracks is a feature-rich toolset which will work great for most beekeepers.
Any data you insert into your phone app is synced with the website once you regain cell service.
It allows for a multitude of data points for you to collect and allows for inventory management and honey harvest tracking.
It allows you to record all aspects of hive health, queen health, and many other data points.
It is fairly priced.
It does not have the ability to add new hives, or a new yard from the field with your phone if there is no cell coverage. The ability to add hives and yards can only be done from the website, and without cell coverage, you can't use your phone's browser.
It lacks the ability to manage inventory which you have borrowed or loaned out.
All in all, i liked this product. It is easy to navigate both on the web and in the app, at least for Android which is the platform on which I tested it. I would recommend this product, and will use it myself.