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Author Topic: Weighing Hives for Winter, Etc.  (Read 793 times)

Offline Palouse

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Weighing Hives for Winter, Etc.
« on: September 18, 2013, 03:14:04 PM »
I hear talk about weighing hives for the winter as a good indicator for adequate stores, but I've a question.

I've got two hives with all-medium, 10-frame boxes. One has six boxes and one has seven. I just added a super to the one with six boxes. How do you go about weighing hives? I do not have a scale that will work with the size of hive boxes, and I'm not going to go out and buy one. So is it experience that tells you that your hives are heavy or light or do people have some more accurate way of doing it without having to actually weigh the things on a scale?

Also, for those of you who feed 2:1 sugar water in preparation for winter: if you have excess of stores to get through the winter (which is to say,  you've got capped stores from the previous year when the flow starts the following spring), how do you know your honey the next season isn't just capped sugar water from the previous season? Do you pull frames of capped stores during the onset of the flow if you've got stores left over? Out of too much fear of losing bees I can't afford to replace in the spring, I've been feeding heavily.

Lastly, I was told to put the queen in the bottom box in preparation for winter. I couldn't find the queen in either hive, and there were bees in all the boxes. There was not a clear place to me where the queen was supposedly working (although, it was obvious she wasn't working in the honey supers), so I left them as is other than to make sure the heavy boxes with either all honey or mostly honey were moved to the top. I've read that people use four mediums or so for winter which I take to mean two cluster boxes and two boxes of stores. How do I get my hives down to four boxes? Do I wait until it's colder and the bees are in an actual cluster so I know where they are before I start pulling things apart?

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Weighing Hives for Winter, Etc.
« Reply #1 on: September 18, 2013, 03:45:38 PM »
Lift the back of the hive.  Estimate the weight you are lifting.  Multiply by two.
Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm en espanol: bushfarms.com/es_bees.htm  auf deutsche: bushfarms.com/de_bees.htm
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Offline edward

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Re: Weighing Hives for Winter, Etc.
« Reply #2 on: September 18, 2013, 05:08:14 PM »
If you mange to sell a jar or two of honey you could by a bagage scale the usually can weigh up to 35kg and don't cost much.

Or lift the hive, or take it apart and look at how many frames have stores in them and add the total weight to get the weight of the hive.


mvh Edward  :-P

Offline AllenF

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Re: Weighing Hives for Winter, Etc.
« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2013, 05:30:07 PM »
Easy lift, one grunt, two grunts, or too heavy for me to lift.   Too heavy and I don't even worry about looking inside. 

Offline Palouse

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Re: Weighing Hives for Winter, Etc.
« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2013, 08:57:39 PM »
Thanks for the answers.

I have to admit I'm confused by the "multiply by two" thing. Why multiply by two?

Part of why I don't want to buy a baggage scale is because of space. I don't have enough space for all the equipment I have already.

I can understand grunts. One hive I cannot lift, the other I can. I will count the grunts on the hive I can lift and go from there.

Offline tjc1

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Re: Weighing Hives for Winter, Etc.
« Reply #5 on: September 18, 2013, 10:51:48 PM »
Following up on Michael's post, depending on what your hive is sitting on, you can tip up the back end enough to slide a bathroom scale under that back edge, note the weight, and multiply by two. I doubted whether this was accurate, but I tried it with a wooden chest, weighing one end only first and then standing the chest entirely on the scale and the first weight was indeed was accurate to within a couple of pounds of half the weight of the whole chest.

Offline edward

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Re: Weighing Hives for Winter, Etc.
« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2013, 03:42:19 AM »
Part of why I don't want to buy a baggage scale is because of space.I can understand grunts. One hive I cannot lift, the other I can. I will count the grunts on the hive I can lift and go from there.

The baggage scale I have is smaller than a packet of cigarettes.

The easy and fastest way is the grunts when you've learned the differans


mvh Edward  :-P

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Weighing Hives for Winter, Etc.
« Reply #7 on: September 19, 2013, 10:06:02 AM »
>I have to admit I'm confused by the "multiply by two" thing. Why multiply by two?

Half of the weight is supported at the front.  You are only lifting the back.
Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm en espanol: bushfarms.com/es_bees.htm  auf deutsche: bushfarms.com/de_bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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Offline Glen H

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Re: Weighing Hives for Winter, Etc.
« Reply #8 on: September 19, 2013, 09:34:06 PM »
I have a luggage scale. It fits in the palm of my hand and has a strap that hangs down from it with a hook on the end. I place the hook on the bottom of the hive at the back where the bottom slide out board goes. I lift the hive a bit and read the number on the screen of the scale. I then double this number to get an approx. weight. It may not be super accurate but it gives you an good idea as to how much a 150-160 pound hive weighs. that is the weight of what my hive is supposed to be with adequate stores for where I live. This includes the boxes, frames, stores, bees, bottom board, inner cover and lid.

I did a lift of my smallest hive last week and it showed 55 lbs. on the scale so the hive is approx. 110 lbs.
that hive needs to put on another 40-50 lbs. before winter starts. Goldenrod is still coming in and I'm feeding a little too.

Glen
Located in Zone 5b