A scale hive (or hive scale) is a beehive set on a weighing scales so you can observe the daily change in weight.
Usually this means constructing a special stand which will accommodate the scales upside-down over a series of mirrors set like a periscope so the daily change of weight can be read from above. If you are manually inept or technologically minded or both, it is possible to buy a special solar-powered, digital scale hive which will allow you to monitor your bees from a distance – probably via a satellite – the mind boggles!
Below is a graph of the data collected from my scale hive over the past 8 years – click it for a better view:
As you can see, 2013 was an extraordinary year when everything went right – it’s the year we will all look back on with misty eyes. I’m doing it already!
But I digress, here are four reasons why you would set up a scale hive:
- To detect and record the date and magnitude of a honey flow;
- To keep an eye on the rate of development and the state of the stores in spring;
- To see when that swarm left – a great big prime swarm might weigh 5lbs!
During a flow it is interesting to compare an evening reading with the following morning to see just how much water the bees have managed to evaporate overnight.
If you want to set one up – now is the time!
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