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Author Topic: Why weigh hives for winter?  (Read 739 times)
charlie b
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« on: October 29, 2013, 11:03:25 AM »

From everything I've been reading, I understand that mediums full of honey weigh about 3 1/2 to 4 lbs. Deeps weigh 7. Up here by Lake Superior they say we should go into winter with about 80 - 100 lbs of honey per hive. We have about 6 - 7 months of winter up here....With that said, why do Beeks put scales under the hives and then add up all the weight of the different hive components etc. when we can figure out weight by counting frames of honey?
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Moots
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« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2013, 11:09:21 AM »

I would assume because lifting the back of a hive and estimating the weight, or hooking a deer scale on it, is a WHOLE LOT EASIER and QUICKER than going into each box of a hive and pulling and counting frames with capped honey.   
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merince
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« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2013, 11:31:59 AM »

Like Moots said, it is easier, faster and it can be done without opening the hives. This means it can be done when it is convenient to the beekeeper even if the weather is not optimal for hive inspections.

Using the total hive weight will also allow you to monitor your hive's stores during winter when in depth inspections (and counting frames) will most likely kill your hive.
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Vance G
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« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2013, 11:47:55 AM »

I used an old bathroom scale until I splurged and bought a harbor freight  Freight scale for around $40.  I tip the hive sideways and slide a piece of plywood under the hive and place the scale so the side I tipped up will come down over the middle of the scale.  Then I rock the hive back over and balance it by the side of the hive setting on the center of the scale.  I get a weight that is pretty close and write it on the top of cover with a sharpie.  If it is over 125, I consider the hive heavy enough to make the winter.  I do this first after the end of the flow and feed them til they reach that level or a little more.  I do not feed them if they are over 130 as they need clustering space in my cold country.  They also don't have room to raise winter bees if plugged solid with honey early in the fall.

THis is what I do in my area.  I do not know the ramifications of following this strategy in your area. 
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iddee
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« Reply #4 on: October 29, 2013, 01:11:54 PM »

How close can you guess as to how full each frame is in the uncapped frames? Weighing the whole hive and subtracting the tare, you don't have to estimate the partial frames.
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« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2013, 03:06:29 PM »

I would assume because lifting the back of a hive and estimating the weight, or hooking a deer scale on it, is a WHOLE LOT EASIER and QUICKER than going into each box of a hive and pulling and counting frames with capped honey.   

I've just purchased a 100lb hand held spring loaded scale just for this purpose. The style I chose is the Chatillon IN-Series Mechanical Scales. The main selling point was the max weight indication.

I have always taken for granted that if I support the front of the hive and slightly lift the rear the reading is half the total weight. That value minus the weight of similar empty equipment gives a close approximation of the stores inside the hive.

Even if I'm incorrect, I'm pretty sure it's close enough for government work.
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Later,
Ray
capt44
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« Reply #6 on: October 31, 2013, 04:37:35 AM »

In late October I just reach down and lift the back of the hive and then around February 15th I do it again.
If it feels lite I start 1-1 sugar syrup and protein patties.
I'm in Zone 7 Central Arkansas
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Richard Vardaman (capt44)
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« Reply #7 on: October 31, 2013, 01:07:53 PM »

I do exactly like Capt 44.  Here in south MO it doesn't take much to get them to Feb. that's when the danger starts. The early buildup takes a lot of feed. Woody
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o.molchanov
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« Reply #8 on: October 31, 2013, 01:11:50 PM »

You should do weighing in order to compare the power of colony at the beginning and at the end of season. Knowing this you will be able to compose the right strategy fro each hive i.e feeding, breeding and so on.
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riverrat
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« Reply #9 on: October 31, 2013, 02:57:51 PM »

I heft my hives to check the weight. I do have a couple hives I got on platform scales year around. Very interesting to see how much weight a hive can gain daily during a flow
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never take the top off a hive on a day that you wouldn't want the roof taken off your house
charlie b
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« Reply #10 on: October 31, 2013, 06:03:08 PM »

Thanks everyone for your experience. Sharing what works for you...... Hope you all over winter successfully.
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o.molchanov
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« Reply #11 on: November 01, 2013, 05:54:19 AM »

Thanks Charlie. Hope you too.
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