How Do You Weigh Your Hives?

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by litefoot, Sep 2, 2012.

  1. litefoot

    litefoot New Member

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    I've searched the subject of weighing hives and I've seen the fish scale (tipping/weighing each end and using the multiplier) and the plain old bathroom scale (standing on a scale holding the boxes) methods. The bathroom scale method would seem to be impossible in the winter with both deeps wrapped together in tar paper (too heavy to lift).

    My questions:
    1. What method do you prefer?
    2. I've read that two bare deeps with frames/foundation weighs about 60-65 lb. If I want 60 lb of reserves then the weight of the two deeps and honey should be at least 125 lb going into the winter. Sound right? I may want more reserves, but I'm just using the 60 lb as an example. I'm open to suggestions on the amount of reserves.
    3. As the reserves get used up, at what point do you emergency feed? What weight would be your trigger to start feeding?

    Thanks! I really haven't paid much attention to the actual weight of my deeps. All I know is that they are HEAVY and the standard grips (indentations) on the side of the deeps, of late, are barely adequate for lifting.

    Joel
     
  2. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    I know this isn't want you want to hear, but it's the way i do it.

    If the weight indents my fingers in the handholds, it's good. If not, I feed.
     

  3. pistolpete

    pistolpete New Member

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    you don't actually need to lift the whole hive. Depending on how your stand is set up, you can weigh 1/2 of it. Rock it back and place a 4x4 under the front legs. Then rock it forward and place a 1x4 and the bathroom scale under the back legs. Then multiply weight by two. It's a two person operation, but no overly heavy lifting required.
     
  4. heinleinfan

    heinleinfan New Member

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    I go by frame count rather than an actual weight. My husband and I don't own a scale of any kind and haven't for years.

    I use deeps for my hive bodies and a full frame is around 6 pounds of honey. So I look for *at least* 13 full frames in a two deep hive going into winter and...actually will start feeding soon (maybe mid-September) if I don't see that on my next inspection.

    I generally feed in the spring without looking or trying to lift the frames; every hive I've had has always ignored sugar water if they didn't want it, and slurp it up if they do. So if they're not taking it I just take the feeder off.
     
  5. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    a snip...
    I've searched the subject of weighing hives and I've seen the fish scale (tipping/weighing each end and using the multiplier) and the plain old bathroom scale (standing on a scale holding the boxes) methods. The bathroom scale method would seem to be impossible in the winter with both deeps wrapped together in tar paper (too heavy to lift).

    tecumseh:
    I am not certain if the two above methods is a reference to some pictures I posted here???? if it is.... 'the bathroom' scale and fish scale were done in sequence in order to.... via the bathroom scale obtain a fairly accurate gross weight of the hives that were then directly referenced to the fish scale and tipping each end of the hive. this then allowed (via a very small data set) to obtain a fairly accurate mathematical relationship between the tipping weight and the true weight of the hive (2.4 X fish scale tipping weight). at the same time you could have employed Iddee method (which I do myself but is much more about 'how it feels' than anything else) to have some capacity to discriminate quickly and accurate which hives need feed and which do not.

    the bathroom scale was not meant to be a 'do able' kind of approach to determining if a hive had enough stores. that is... it's accuracy was useful but it application (in the field) was in no ways meant to be something repeated.

    for very small hives (single story) I myself prefer the hefting and 'is it heavy like a brick' method. this method is not so accurate but is very simple in it's application but does require some experience. for larger hives tipping (either by hand or using the fish scale) is a much more beekeeper friendly method.
     
  6. riverrat

    riverrat New Member

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    My first year of beekeeping I bought a set of scales at the sporting good store to weigh deer and other game. After trying to use it to weigh the first hive wrestling around a hive of ticked off bees I determined it wasnt worth the problem. I went to hefting or tipping the hives if they are heavy your good to go if your light feed.
     
  7. Marbees

    Marbees Member

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    Frame count or hefting, either one of them works for me.
     
  8. litefoot

    litefoot New Member

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    Thanks heinleinfan. Good info on the weight of the deeps, and I like the simplicity of your plan. More good ideas to incorporate.

    Tecumseh,
    Thanks for chiming in here. I should have credited you on the fish scale idea but I didn't remember who posted that info. The relationship you developed between the fish scale weight and the actual bathroom scale weight found here was awesome.

    Although I am a newbie, I have been hefting the deeps from time to time over the course of the season, so I guess I can count on at least a little experience in determining the difference between a full and nearly empty hive. As always, I'm probably overthinking things.
     
  9. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    thanks for the compliment.... but....

    well to be absolutely truthful litefoot the idea was stolen from another beekeeper who wrote his little experiement up in an old bee journal (mid 1980s or so). I simply changes his methods somewhat by obtaining a digital fish scale which was not really available at the time he did the experiment. the real plus for me was my wife really enjoys doing these little simple experiment that I conjure up from time to time. oddly enough the original author was a physic professor at a small college just up the river from where I began rearing bees... a long long time ago.

    hefting is simple and it sounds like you have picked up enough boxes that this method will work for you. even for the small number of hives in my 'fish scaling' experiment this information did inform me which hives needed a little feed and which needed a lot. all made the winter and none were either over or under fed. for folks a bit further north that need to fall prep their hives for winter some scheme to more accurately determine which hives do or do not have enough stores maybe a worthwhile exercise allowing them to input feed where it is needed and not where it is not.