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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil
    Posts
    48

    Lightbulb

    I have been weighing my hives for a while, and I thought that we could share some ideas about that. Last year, I made a portable, simple digital scale that I use to weigh both sides of each hive. The sum of the two measurements is a good approximation of the real weight, as far as the hive's center of mass is near the geometric center of the hive (with which I try to align the sensor). The resolution is 0.1 kg and the maximum error (end of scale - 120 kg) is around 5% due to my poorly designed/built "load cell". BTW, the instrument is a barebone circuit, which should be improved in many features.

    Photos are far better than my description: <http://geocities.yahoo.com.br/jbacampos/pesagem.htm> (never mind if the text there is unreadble).

    In the apiary, I think the measurements are useful to select which hives I really need to open. The less I disturb the girls, the better it is (for all of us). Of course, the scale doesn't replace manual management, but it helps doing the job in a more rational way. It's amazing how different are the hives' performances in my apiary - a very successful hive in a week can be far from first place in the other. Maybe that's because the bees have a scattered, not very strong nectar sources there, and they probably don't share their findings with the neighbors...

    When I enter the data in a spreadsheet, I can also see the total apiary weight and its behavior along the time, and that is a more realistic view of the gathering result. Unfortunately, my last two crops were almost totally ruined by a bad weather, so I couldn't check how strong was the relationship between the total weight and the harvested honey. I too calculate the net weight, trying to find out if I can parse it in (mainly) bees, honey and wax in some way.

    I'm still not sure how useful a scale can be, but I'm not letting my lack of imagination rule... [img]smile.gif[/img]

    Maybe you have good ideas about that.

    João

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Perkasie, PA
    Posts
    1,998

    Post

    I put hive weighing in the same category as migratory beekeeping and genotyping races of bees...very, very cool but not quit practical for me. Using a small digital scale does change my way of thinking about hive weighing (esp if its cheap).

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil
    Posts
    48

    Post

    Using a small digital scale does change my way of thinking about hive weighing (esp if its cheap).
    That's the hard part (cheapness). The circuit is simple and, even if you add a memory and some processing capability (which would be much better), it won't become too complicated - for the current industry standards.

    But only large scale manufacturing would make it cheap enough to become an affordable (and, especially, wanted) tool for the average beekeeper, I think. And it's not possible to do, unless you have a large amount of money to invest with risk.

    Anyway, digital measurement is an option for those who like making some small circuits in the shed... and for those interested in talking about the gathered data as well.

    João

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