Hive lift-Weight

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Foxylad 

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This year I have decided to weigh my hives. To take out the guess work on winter stores.
I run Commercials around 15 colonies and 6 Nucs. 4 to a pallet, pretty close togethe.
I have purchased a set off scales with a hook at each end. All my hives have a ratchet strap around. My plan was to attach the hive to the scale, lift each hive. The problem is the weight.
Now I’m quite a strong guy but some of those hives weigh 70lbs now. And from what I can gather they need to be 80-90lbs. I’m not going to able to lift 15 hives!
i realise I could lift each side bit that would mean screwing a hook into each floor. Accessing the far side would be tricky.
I have looked at farm jacks and also hive carriers.
161195 Heavy Duty 48" High Lifting Ratchet Farmers Farm Jack for Tractors Trucks 161195 Heavy Duty 48" High Lifting Ratchet Farmers Farm Jack for Tractors Trucks : Amazon.co.uk: Automotive
Has anyone else come up with a solution, that would not mean remortgage my house?
 

enrico 

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I find it close enough to weigh one side and multiply by 2 you don't have to be that exact! A screw each side of the floor and a strong chain and luggage weights.
 

victor meldrew 

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I can judge by hefting . Had enough experience . Over 34 years .
 

Wilco 

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Make an A frame/tripod with a pulley out of CLS? Should be doable for under £20 even with current inflated wood prices.
 

Goran 

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This year I have decided to weigh my hives. To take out the guess work on winter stores.
I run Commercials around 15 colonies and 6 Nucs. 4 to a pallet, pretty close togethe.
I have purchased a set off scales with a hook at each end. All my hives have a ratchet strap around. My plan was to attach the hive to the scale, lift each hive. The problem is the weight.
Now I’m quite a strong guy but some of those hives weigh 70lbs now. And from what I can gather they need to be 80-90lbs. I’m not going to able to lift 15 hives!
i realise I could lift each side bit that would mean screwing a hook into each floor. Accessing the far side would be tricky.
I have looked at farm jacks and also hive carriers.
161195 Heavy Duty 48" High Lifting Ratchet Farmers Farm Jack for Tractors Trucks 161195 Heavy Duty 48" High Lifting Ratchet Farmers Farm Jack for Tractors Trucks : Amazon.co.uk: Automotive
Has anyone else come up with a solution, that would not mean remortgage my house?
 

Foxylad 

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This is how I weigh bee hives. Mine have to weigh considerably more for winter than yours. I used to heft my hives to estimate needed feed. Trouble is, after the first apiary or two, they all feel heavy

Hello Michael, thank you for taking the time to reply, that video is great. I have an old bathroom scale that I’m going to try. You are right I have hefted in the past. But since weighing hives this year it is really surprising the difference in colony’s. They all feel heavy but the difference maybe 10-20lbs. Not much at the minute, but in spring could be the difference between an alive or starved hive.
 

gmonag 

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understanding_bees 

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There have been numerous discussions, on various beekeeping websites and forums, about the weight of beehives. Many beekeepers wish to monitor the performance of their bees, or perhaps they wish to ensure that their bees have sufficient stores when winter is approaching.

During the periods when nectar and pollen are being collected by the bees, the increase in weight of the hive can give a good indication of the amount of honey being stored by the bees. If the hive can be weighed accurately then the actual weight of honey can be estimated easily by subtracting the weight of the hive components and the weight of the bees and brood.

During the winter months, when the bees are feeding from their stored honey, the hive weight reduces, and if the weight of the hive components is known accurately then it becomes easy to estimate how much stored honey is still available to them in their hive.

In the various discussions on this forum about this subject of “weighing hives”, various opinions have been expressed. Some people with years of experience just rely on hefting their hives, to determine whether their bees have sufficient stores. The comments about hefting seem to be very subjective, indicating “very heavy”, “heavy enough”, and “not heavy enough” (or some similar sort of explanation).

Some people have expressed a very real desire to be able to accurately know how much their hives weigh. This can present a dilemma to them, about what kind of weighing system to use. Some people may wish to use remote sensing equipment, which represents a level of cost for each hive they wish to monitor. Even if a beekeeper chooses a weighing method where the same piece of equipment is used to weigh each of their hives, many of the devices have been cumbersome to use. Some people have spoken of using a luggage scales, or spring balance, or similar device – but these all require the actual lifting of the hive. In this respect they are doing hefting with a weight measuring device. For people who have many hives, this requires a level of physical exertion which can tire them more than they would wish.

Having described a situation where hefting (of whatever kind) is exhausting, and in many instances gives only approximate results, I have “put on my thinking cap” and come up with an elegant solution. I have designed and built a hive lifting tool which incorporates digital-scales, which enables hives to be weighed in a matter of a few seconds per hive.

My hive lifter weighs just over 4kg, and can lift hives which have only 40mm clearance below the hive base. By this I mean if there is 40mm clearance between the ground, paver, or pallet on which the hive is placed, and the underside of the hive base, then my hive lifter platform can slide under the hive. If there is greater clearance, then the hive lifter can be used with a space as great as 400mm between the ground and the hive base. The hive lifter can be adjusted for any clearance between 40mm and 400mm in just 10 seconds or less, and a weight reading can be obtained in another 5 seconds.

If all of the hives in an apiary have similar construction (with similar ground clearance), then the height adjustment only needs to be made once, and accurate weights can be determined in just 5 seconds for each hive. No heavy lifting is required, as the operating lever has a 10:1 mechanical advantage, meaning that a weight of 50kg can be lifted with just a 5kg effort onto the operating lever. The hive needs to be lifted by only a very small distance – a centimeter has been sufficient – and does not cause any disturbance to the bees.

I have deliberately made my hive lifter to weigh just one end of the hive, to enable the device to be compact and light in weight, although it is robust in its construction. By weighing the rear part of the hive an accurate assessment can be made, rather than the approximation which can be made by manual hefting. If the actual weight of the hive needs to be determined, then it is necessary to repeat the measurement process at the front of the hive, and add the two values together (rear weight, plus front weight). It is because a weight reading can be obtained so easily and quickly that it is possible for the front of the hive to be weighed before the bees have much opportunity to react if they might wish to do so.

If anyone has an interest in knowing more details, please send me a private message.
 

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madasafish 

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I have kept a track of hive weights since 2016.
Weight includes floor, 1 x super, Langstroth jumbo brood, CB. No roof. Mainly wood plus 1 poly (3-4kgs lighter)
Digital travel scales and loop of rope under floor at front, lift 3-4 cms up, weight for a reading (beeps), then do rear. Add together for total (there can be large variances front to back - as cold way and stores often at rear.)

As I am only lifting half a hive - half the weight - even I can lift 20kg. :love:
Anything over 40kgs is rare and unnecessary with unused honey in Spring.
Anything under 30kgs is too light. Around 35kg is fine.

5- 6 frame nucs. c 12-15kg. but feed fondant in winter

Mini nucs 1-2kg but fed fondant monthly. (Not weighed regularly)

Edit 2hours later.

Have weighed all my main hives; Range from 20.0kg (poly) to 31.8kgs.So some feeding required.
Most hives had weights at rear 3-4kg heavier than at fronts except the heaviest where the split was roughly 50:50
 
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Michael Palmer 

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They all feel heavy but the difference maybe 10-20lbs. Not much at the minute, but in spring could be the difference between an alive or starved hive.
Exactly. If I feed the colonies to my target weight, I know every colony has enough stores to get through to April. Before April, it can be difficult to get to my 40 apiaries as we still have feet of snow on the ground some years. If they're heavy enough in October, there's no need for emergency feeding of fondant, candy boards, or whatever.
 
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Gordon.Grant 

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This year I have decided to weigh my hives. To take out the guess work on winter stores.
I run Commercials around 15 colonies and 6 Nucs. 4 to a pallet, pretty close togethe.
I have purchased a set off scales with a hook at each end. All my hives have a ratchet strap around. My plan was to attach the hive to the scale, lift each hive. The problem is the weight.
Now I’m quite a strong guy but some of those hives weigh 70lbs now. And from what I can gather they need to be 80-90lbs. I’m not going to able to lift 15 hives!
i realise I could lift each side bit that would mean screwing a hook into each floor. Accessing the far side would be tricky.
I have looked at farm jacks and also hive carriers.
161195 Heavy Duty 48" High Lifting Ratchet Farmers Farm Jack for Tractors Trucks 161195 Heavy Duty 48" High Lifting Ratchet Farmers Farm Jack for Tractors Trucks : Amazon.co.uk: Automotive
Has anyone else come up with a solution, that would not mean remortgage my house?
 

Gordon.Grant 

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I have identical nationals running a brood and a half. I bought a set of digital luggage scales and hook these under the back of the hive and lift it about 1" so that the hive pivots on the hive stand at the front. I weigh each hive in this way with it's omg floor, brood, super, and crown board on. I've found that if you multiply this figure by 2.2 you get a pretty accurate weight for the whole hive. I then subtract the weight of the hive components and bees from this to get the weight of stores. For myself I allow 28-30lb for the hive and bee components. So with a component/bee weight of 30 lb and a stores weight of 40lb the total weight needs to be 70lb. Divide by 2.2 gives 31.8lb which is what the scales should show. So I always feed till I have 32lb showing on my scales then stop. I've weighed complete hives by lifting them totally off the ground then compared the actual weight to my calculated weight using this method and it's generally accurate to within a pound or two..Which is accurate enough for what I want. If nothing else it does give a good comparison between hives so you know which ones need feeding more than others. And by weighing just one end it's also very quick.
 

madasafish 

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Divide by 2.2 gives 31.8lb which is what the scales should show. So I always feed till I have 32lb showing on my scales then stop. I've weighed complete hives by lifting them totally off the ground then compared the actual weight to my calculated weight using this method and it's generally accurate to within a pound or two..Which is accurate enough for what I want. If nothing else it does give a good comparison between hives so you know which ones need feeding more than others. And by weighing just one end it's also very quick.
Pedant ALERT
lb should read Kg.
 

oliver90owner 

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After my first couple of seasons, I steadily converted my hives to 14 x 12. First off I weighed each hive by lifting it gently with a spring balance (later with a digi-suitcase scale) from a screw in each side of the hive floor. After a couple of seasons I was simply used to the weight of a single brood with roof removed, so hefted from each side (to check if one side was lighter than the other).

At some point I realised that if the bees had plenty of stores going into winter, they would be fine, left undisturbed, until late February at least. So I stopped hefting and worrying. I did feed some colonies - but they would have been ones which I knew might be short of stores.

Early brooding is the main reason for shortage of stores in spring, or a very cold snap where the bees could get isolated and starve (BTDT).
 

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