Snelgrove in action

Make Your Own Scale Hive

A scale hive is a great way of keeping an eye on how much nectar the bees bring in during the day, how much water is evaporated off during the night or how many bees and how much honey left with that swarm you just saw leaving!

It can be an expensive addition to the apiary hardware if you want to go electronic. However, it is quite easy to make one from wood with some cunningly placed mirrors and a bathroom scales.

Here’s how…

The photo below shows the elements of the home-made scale hive:

  • Bathroom scales
  • Wooden box with little window in top and housing for periscope drawer below
  • Periscope drawer with two mirrors facing each other and each set at 45 degrees to base

Click it for a close up view.

Scale Hive Dimensions
Scale hive elements

This next photo shows the periscope drawer housing consisting of 4 lengths of 2×1 nailed across the box inside the entrance – use your loaf here! Click it for close up:

Scale hive elements seen from the side to show periscope drawer

Below is how it looks when the 3 elements are put together. The bathroom scales go upside down with the scale dial over the little window. The periscope drawer slides underneath – you can just see the handle.

The hive is placed on top of this. You need either a solid floor or a sheet of wood to set on the scale if you are using a mesh floor.

Scale hive assembly

The mirror closest to the back of the drawer lines up under the scale dial when the drawer is opened and reflects its image up to the other mirror where you can see it thus:

Scale hive drawer open

And here it is in use:

Scale Hive in Action
Scale Hive in Action

This hive is on a solid floor and that’s a bit of slate in front pretending to be a landing board. The bees brought in 15 stone of honey in the glorious summer of 2013 – will we ever see the like again? It had to be unloaded and extracted 3 times as it got tall and the scale tends to bounce!

The little blue sticker on the hive front is to remind the bees they are now entering a food producing area and to wash their hands etc – you know the drill.

Electronic scale hives are available which will allow you to monitor all sorts of things digitally over a network and at a distance – more about that later hopefully!

Click here for more on scale hives

Click here for Remote Bee Hive Monitoring

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2 thoughts on “Make Your Own Scale Hive”

  1. Did this continue to work accurately over the season? I would be concerned that the constant heavy weight of the hive on the scales could cause its springs to weaken.

    1. Yes, it does work accurately over the season but you need to make sure that everything is square and centred properly and nothing is leaning on it or otherwise obstructing it. When you read it you have to give it a little bounce because it can stick a bit. Also, if you have a very heavy crop you need to take the honey off a couple of times or it can become unstable if it gets windy.
      I used an ordinary Salter bathroom scale and had no problems with it – I think age and rust got the better of it eventually.

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