"Hefting" tool

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Vanterrier

House Bee From SW Northumberland
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Encouraged by Pargyle here in thread 'Crown board ventilation over winter' Crown board ventilation over winter see my alternative to hefting, which I am not experienced at. I wanted something simple that gave a consistent readout that I could track as the winter progressed. Something that Heath Robinson might have liked ;)
The tool itself is a simple thing, doesn't need to be particularly accurate, easy to use, cheap to make.
To estimate weight of stores you need to find the Tare of your hive (everything that does not change). I then weigh at four points just inboard of the base frame, calculate the average then double it to have the net weight.
The net - tare = weight of what changes, week to week, I.e. stores and bees.
I make no claims and I'm not being negative about hefting. I might be able to do that myself at some point...
I hope this is of interest or inspires someone?
K ;)
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All my floors have a screw ring each side. Hook luggage scales and lift one inch. Do each side and add.
That’s what I had until I changed to Abelo poly floors. I don’t trust the strength of the poly to continue, so it’s back to three fingers and guesswork.
 
I've been using an analogue luggage scale for few years but have only weighed from one side using a eye screw in the floor.

Analogue scale died and upgraded to digital. A bit too accurate, numbers shifting around to 100ths of a lb. Nearest pound is enough. Don't use as in photo. Now use snap ring through the eye screw and a length of cord lifting the scale above the crownboard.

I'm assuming that the colony is sitting neatly in the middle eating the way upwards. I've only had the odd one shift over to the sunny side of the box but if worried can have a quick look end of Feb/March. I still err on the safe side and add some fondant to odd hives but come first inspection it's obviously never been necessary. My lot don't eat through as much as I've seen mentioned here.

Cantilever setup easier if lifting an issue.

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That’s what I had until I changed to Abelo poly floors. I don’t trust the strength of the poly to continue, so it’s back to three fingers and guesswork.
I just heft now but the screws remain. I couldn’t get on with the poly floors. All mine are wooden UFE
 
I've been using an analogue luggage scale for few years but have only weighed from one side using a eye screw in the floor.

Analogue scale died and upgraded to digital. A bit too accurate, numbers shifting around to 100ths of a lb. Nearest pound is enough. Don't use as in photo. Now use snap ring through the eye screw and a length of cord lifting the scale above the crownboard.

I'm assuming that the colony is sitting neatly in the middle eating the way upwards. I've only had the odd one shift over to the sunny side of the box but if worried can have a quick look end of Feb/March. I still err on the safe side and add some fondant to odd hives but come first inspection it's obviously never been necessary. My lot don't eat through as much as I've seen mentioned here.

Cantilever setup easier if lifting an issue.

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I also find an ‘acurate’ electronic scale constantly shifts about. Any explanations? Can be wind pressing on the hive side - or even the bees moving around inside?
I am going back to using a doctor’s mechanical scale - weighs to 1/2 a lb if I read on a line or midway Between lines.
 
I also find an ‘acurate’ electronic scale constantly shifts about. Any explanations? Can be wind pressing on the hive side - or even the bees moving around inside?
I am going back to using a doctor’s mechanical scale - weighs to 1/2 a lb if I read on a line or midway Between lines.
My digital scale is just a cheap £10 unit from Argos. As one option is to measure in grams the sensitivity will be excessive if you use the kg or lb scale.
The problem I think is the organic part of the system, the human holding onto the handle. :)
My heaviest lift is a half-weight of 44lbs for a colony in a National brood and half. I struggle to hold the scale still in 2 hands standing next to the side of the box. Even the last 10th of a pound doesn't matter.
I'm too tight to buy another one and will persevere.
. . . . Ben
 
That's why I resorted to a pivot lever device with a long handle... its stable in use and the long lever is easy to press down and hold so you don't need to be Arne Swatshisname.
Taking four readings as I do give me some idea where the nest is too ( just out of curiosity)
K ;)
 
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Taking four readings as I do give me some idea where the nest is too ( just out of curiosity)
K ;)
I leave the floor slide in so can tell by the cappings drop.
The major part of the weight will be honey, I guess. The clump of bees and brood will be lighter ? ? . . . . maybe. My bees shrink back to a small cluster. Not like the photos you see from commercial beeks. Weight shifts might be measurable if you are accurate and you don't have a mesh floor.
I think this exercise is worth doing, even if you only do it for a couple of colonies for a couple of years. You worry about them less. Or you could slap on a massive block of fondant and come back in April.
 
I leave the floor slide in so can tell by the cappings drop.
The major part of the weight will be honey, I guess. The clump of bees and brood will be lighter ? ? . . . . maybe. My bees shrink back to a small cluster. Not like the photos you see from commercial beeks. Weight shifts might be measurable if you are accurate and you don't have a mesh floor.
I think this exercise is worth doing, even if you only do it for a couple of colonies for a couple of years. You worry about them less. Or you could slap on a massive block of fondant and come back in April.
Always good to get the hang of weights using luggage scales , I always when I do use them weigh from the sides then heft afterwards, it’s a bit of an art hefting because they can feel light but have ample stores .
 
Always good to get the hang of weights using luggage scales , I always when I do use them weigh from the sides then heft afterwards, it’s a bit of an art hefting because they can feel light but have ample stores .
If they feel light (able to comfortably lift them with one finger) they are starving ! Lift comfortably with two fingers I start worrying about stores .. Nailed to the ground and hard to lift with three fingers - well stocked. Clearly, it depends on where you are in winter as to what you would want to see.

Hefting is not a black art .. a few winters and it becomes second nature. Obviously, it helps when you have similar hives and kit so you get to know what to expect, but in the early years the abiity to weigh and heft does help. You'll get there eventually.
 
If they feel light (able to comfortably lift them with one finger) they are starving ! Lift comfortably with two fingers I start worrying about stores .. Nailed to the ground and hard to lift with three fingers - well stocked. Clearly, it depends on where you are in winter as to what you would want to see.

Hefting is not a black art .. a few winters and it becomes second nature. Obviously, it helps when you have similar hives and kit so you get to know what to expect, but in the early years the abiity to weigh and heft does help. You'll get there eventually.
The last two years I haven’t had to remove excess stores , I must be doing something right.
My thoughts also were not everyone is as strong/same as each other someone who works lifting things all the time might heft a hive and think it’s light in comparison.
 
I am overwintering WBCs with double broods . They are heavy and made of different materials so their base weights are different , which makes them difficult to heft and also work out whats going on. So I use a lever and digital gauge to plot variance over time.
 

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