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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
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    Claremont, NH, USA
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    783

    Default Platform Scale Up and Running (pics)

    Well, before I eventually got the living daylights stung out of me today, I managed to prep my new (old) platform scale and get it set up. I bought it off of Craig's List last month and the weather finally cooperated, so I could get it cleaned up and then set it up in the yard. The scale is about 100 years old, and I bought it for 70 bucks. It came with enough weights to weigh up to 250 pounds. I bought some additional weights on EBay, so it will measure over 500 lbs. If it goes beyond that, I'm calling Guinness!

    Here it is wire brushed before painting.



    After painting. I used Krylon Fusion, two coats, since it has both metal and wood parts. I lighlty brushed but did not paint the underside and just sprayed a little WD40 on the various connecting points. Next to it is the wooden platform I built out of a pressure treated 2 x 4 x 8. For those of you, who have recommended in other posts that I build my own woodenware, you are seeing the extent of my woodworking skills.



    Here it is in the yard from the front.



    And, finally, from the rear looking out across the yard. You can just see the house in the distance.



    Before anyone comments, I did put some stops on the wheels. Wouldn't want the whole things rolling off into the woods! I'm having a cover built to protect the mechanism on top from the elements. The scale can be read from either side, which is convenient. The weights have all been calibrated on my triple beam scale (Yes, I am that big of a nerd.)

    I think it will be fun, interesting and educational to track the weight changes in the hive over the season. Initial weight: 156.5 lbs. But, that's not official. I have to weigh it either early in the morning or late in the evening to get an accurate weight with all the bees inside.

    Bill
    “If you want to gather honey, don't kick over the beehive.” - Dale Carnegie

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Boston, Georgia
    Posts
    466

    Default

    It looks like and old fairbanks scale to me. My father used one for years to weigh barrels. It went up to 1000 pounds. He used to have on in a bee yard, he stapled newspaper aluminum to it to protect it.
    I am holding on to the hope I have inside... Kutless

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Fresno California USA
    Posts
    2,479

    Default Hey That's Great

    Of course now you need a notebook, with numbered pages!

    Much to be learned from observations.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    VENTURA, California, USA
    Posts
    3,604

    Thumbs Up Now you will know field conditions!

    Now you can plot your precipitation and honey yield.
    great phoros,
    Good luck with your new "toy/tool"
    Ernie
    Ernie
    My websitehttp://bees4u.com/

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    OKC, OK USA
    Posts
    2,869

    Default

    Nicely done!! I would really love to get one myself!! Please keep us updated on the information you gather....very exciting.
    Mike Forbes
    Red Dirt Apiaries

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Huntington, West Virginia, USA
    Posts
    438

    Thumbs Up Great job!

    Keep us informed of the weights as the season progresses. Well done, Sir!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Seattle, Washington State
    Posts
    4,398

    Default

    thats a great buy. It will be interesting to see how it changes weights throughout the season.
    Chef Isaac..Culinary Arts and Honey are a sweet mix! http://www.sweetascanbeehoneyfarm.com & http://www.adoptahive.info

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Elkton, Giles, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    1,339

    Default Scale hive

    Nice refurb job. And good looking bee yard. Let me tell you what you can expect in the way of data.

    The scale hive does NOT record availibility of field nectar until about a week into the "main flow". That"s when the colony is geared to store honey at efficient rates. In reverse calendar order:

    The 3 + weeks prior, is the period that they are gearing up to store. During that time wax makers are tanking up on nectar to start the reported 10 day lead time to generate wax for the flow. In addition, that's also the period when the colony is consuming the remaining capped honey of the reserve and replacing it with lighter weight nectar. Although this is happening at the peak of field nectar here, The hive weight shows decline.

    The 3 to 7 weeks prior to main flow is the swarm preps period. You can get mixed data here. The colony that is on schedule to swarm is consuming winter honey at accelerating rates with brood nest expansion, and then starts brood nest reduction with nectar backfilling. Brood is lighter in weight than nectar and nectar is lighter than capped honey. The colony that is behind schedule and does't reach the limit of maximum brood volume and start backfilling shows weight loss all the way to new wax of main flow.

    The advantage of checkerboarding is that a colony will show weight gain through this whole period by virtue of continuous accumulation of nectar overhead. (Couldn' resist putting in a plug.)

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Erie, PA
    Posts
    2,030

    Default

    As an engineer, I'm hoping to see a nice graph of weight versus time! Yeah, yeah, engineers are an odd bunch.
    “The keeping of bees is like the direction of sunbeams.” -Henry David Thoreau

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Claremont, NH, USA
    Posts
    783

    Default

    Aw, WC, you took all the fun out of guessing what was gonna happen!

    Seriously, thanks for the input. Will be interesting to see how things play out.

    For everyone, who is interested in the data, yes, I already have a spreadsheet set up and am recording data. I got it from Wayne Esaias, who is part of HoneyBeeNet, a project that is actually hosted by the Goddard Space Flight Center and NASA. How cool is that! Bees in space. Jack Grimshaw gave me Wayne's info here on the forum (Thanks, Jack!) You can go to their website to learn all about how they are collecting data on bee activity from volunteers to better understand how bee pollination is being affected by climate change. Hive weights are part of the project. The website says they are collecting data from the Mid-Atlantic region, but Wayne told me they are now accepting volunteers from all over the country. There is a specific protocol to be followed, but it's not hard. There's also a volunteer questionnaire to fill out, but also not hard. So, of course I had to volunteer. Every little bit helps, right? Here is the link:

    http://honeybeenet.gsfc.nasa.gov/

    I asked Wayne, if it would be okay for me to put in a plug for the project, and he was cool with it (Wouldn't want him to unexpectedly get bombarded with emails, since he does have a day job at NASA). I have finally gone through all the set up and calibration work, so thought now was the time. If I can figure it out, anyone can. Assuming they accept me into the program, eventually, my data will be posted to their website. Either way, I'll post updates here, so folks can see how it goes.

    Wish me luck!

    Bill
    “If you want to gather honey, don't kick over the beehive.” - Dale Carnegie

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Claremont, NH, USA
    Posts
    783

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Hobie View Post
    As an engineer, I'm hoping to see a nice graph of weight versus time! Yeah, yeah, engineers are an odd bunch.
    The spreadsheet includes time, weight, 7 day running average, temp, bloom, lots of stuff.

    Bill

    p.s. Not odd - 'special'
    “If you want to gather honey, don't kick over the beehive.” - Dale Carnegie

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Elkton, Giles, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    1,339

    Default Scale hive

    Jeese. Had to go all the way to page 5 to find this thing

    Didn't intend to downstage your show and tell, but I admit to an ulterior motive. If your data shows the projection that was forcast, and you can be encouraged to CB next season, you could become my number one PR man. The differances are dramatic.

    There are some risks for both of us. I have no clue what you intend to do for swarm prevention this season, but would not expect it to be CB. Reversal in triple deeps works fairly well. Then I have to depend on you to keep your hive healthy for two years - Tough assignment. Since you have already made it plain that you are a stickler for accuracy and detail, I won't worry about that part.

    Your risk is taking on an unfamiar swarm prevention approach. It's not to tough and it works exceeding well when applied on the triple deep. Our communication need not stop here. I'll help any way I can via PM.

    Did you know the pictures got bleeped out?

    Think about this proposal, and let me know.

    Walt

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
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    Claremont, NH, USA
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    783

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by wcubed View Post
    Didn't intend to downstage your show and tell, but I admit to an ulterior motive. If your data shows the projection that was forcast, and you can be encouraged to CB next season, you could become my number one PR man. The differances are dramatic.
    No upstaging at all. Even after less than two weeks, the numbers are really interesting, at least for me.

    #1 PR Man? For what? I am confused. Do you mean checkerboarding? It is something I am considering. The problem I have is in the timing. Spring is kind of compressed up here, or at least is pretty erratic. From what I have read, CB is supposed to be done about 9 weeks before apple bloom. Apples will probably start by next week up here. Plums opened two days ago, after we hit 90F (not average, but not unusual to have these kinds of temp fluctuations). Eight weeks ago, my hives were under snow, and daytime high temps were consistently below freezing. There’s no way I can go into them, tear them down and do that kind of manipulation all the way to the bottom deep. What I would like to try this year is opening the brood nest with alternating undrawn frames. But, it is even late to do that. As I said, our spring is compressed. It may be late in the season for some, but three weeks ago I still had snow on the ground. Dandelions are just starting to bloom up here, tulips JUST started to open yesterday, apple trees have not, and, after several days of temps in the 80's, we are expected to go below freezing again tonight. These warm bursts really throw off the plants, and I am sure, the bees.

    Quote Originally Posted by wcubed View Post
    There are some risks for both of us. I have no clue what you intend to do for swarm prevention this season, but would not expect it to be CB. Reversal in triple deeps works fairly well. Then I have to depend on you to keep your hive healthy for two years - Tough assignment. Since you have already made it plain that you are a stickler for accuracy and detail, I won't worry about that part.
    Risks? Again, I am confused (I sound like Lewis Black).

    I don’t reverse deeps and just let the bees push the brood down naturally from the top deep to the lower.

    Until I got two hives of Russians last year, one of which was maniacal about building queen cells, I never had to deal with swarming. They actually didn’t swarm, but I almost killed them off by cutting out queen cells (Now, I have the nucs and mating boxes to deal with it). I don’t know if I have just been extremely lucky, or if I have given the bees enough room with three deeps and lots of supers (I know swarming is driven by other factors, but I don’t do anything else that is out of the norm). Whatever, I suspect that as my bee yard grows, it will become more of an issue for me. Hence, my interest in CB and opening up the brood area, which I researched this past winter.

    I don’t know how much of a stickler I am. I think it’s my background and education in the sciences that has made me look at most things in life as science projects with data to be collected and analyzed. Or, is it a genetic aberration that directed me to the sciences?

    Quote Originally Posted by wcubed View Post
    Your risk is taking on an unfamiliar swarm prevention approach. It's not to tough and it works exceeding well when applied on the triple deep. Our communication need not stop here. I'll help any way I can via PM.
    Ah, THAT risk. Well, I have been reading about CB on this forum and elsewhere. Seems pretty straightforward. But, as I explained above, the timing is really difficult for me to pull off. If you or anyone else has any ideas to share on how to do it in this kind of climate with the kinds of seasons we have, I am all ears.

    Bill
    “If you want to gather honey, don't kick over the beehive.” - Dale Carnegie

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Blue Mountains, Eastern Oregon
    Posts
    150

    Default

    I have a similar platform scale and have twice tried to record daily weighs over the course of the season in an attempt to identify the specific dates the honey flow started and stopped at my rather unique location. I figured these dates would be obvious based on weight changes, but sounds from what is said here that it's much more complex.

    Unfortunately, I scrapped the data in both cases. The first time I used what turned out to be a rather weak hive that just didn't perform. The second time the hive swarmed so likewise didn't perform. After that I lost interest, but may try again some day. The scale is currently idle in my beeyard.

    The only thing I'd comment on with your setup is the way you positioned your hive on the scale. My first attempt was similar to yours with the entrance on the side. Occasionally the scouts decided they didn't like me that close to their entrance and buzzed me when I tried to take a daily weight. In my second attempt I positioned the hive entrance directly opposite where I stood to take readings. That way I could take the reading from behind the hive and they never realized or cared I was there. Just a minor issue.

    I believe my climate is similar to yours. I'm expecting the plums to start their bloom any day, with the pears and apples not for 1-3 weeks. I'm actually trying checkerboarding this year on 1 hive for the first time. Likewise because of snow/weather, there was no way for me to invade the hive 9 weeks before apple bloom, but I got it done on 7 April, probably about 6-7 weeks prior. We'll see how it works.
    What one man can do, another can do.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Claremont, NH, USA
    Posts
    783

    Default

    Kelbee,

    That's too bad about what happened with your target hives. I can see how, with only one scale, hive selection is really critical. This hive is one I thought was a goner, because it never got to build up into three deeps last year and had a tiny cluster mid-winter. But, it has come back really strong, so I am hopeful. In fact, if it produces well this year, I might use it to raise some queens, since that frugality is a nice trait.

    I can actually read the scale from the rear as well as from the side. Usually, I just read it from the side. I stand near my hives almost every day, often smoking a cigar and just observing. Occasionally, I get buzzed, like the day after I work them, but it is not the norm. If I got buzzed enough to interfere with my enjoyment of just standing and watching or from taking my readings, I would probably requeen. Buzzing for a reason, I can understand. Buzzing me just because I am standing there, problem. Also, I try to take the readings around dusk, so most of the activity has died down by then.

    It does sounds like we have similar climates. I'll post when my apples bloom.

    Bill
    “If you want to gather honey, don't kick over the beehive.” - Dale Carnegie

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Claremont, NH, USA
    Posts
    783

    Default

    p.s. Please post about how your checkerboarding works out. I am very interested in that technique, especially if you started later then recommended.

    Bill
    “If you want to gather honey, don't kick over the beehive.” - Dale Carnegie

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Claremont, NH, USA
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    783

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Kelbee View Post
    I believe my climate is similar to yours. I'm expecting the plums to start their bloom any day, with the pears and apples not for 1-3 weeks. I'm actually trying checkerboarding this year on 1 hive for the first time. Likewise because of snow/weather, there was no way for me to invade the hive 9 weeks before apple bloom, but I got it done on 7 April, probably about 6-7 weeks prior. We'll see how it works.
    Well, pears started blooming on Saturday and apples yesterday, 03 May. That means I would have had to start the CB process around 15 - 22 March to get it done 6 - 7 weeks early like you (01 March to hit 9 weeks). And, unless global warming kicks in big time, that just isn't going to happen. As I wrote, I would really like to hear how it worked out for you.

    Was hoping to work the bees today, but it is clouding up, again, with several days of rain predicted. It is really frustrating.

    Bill
    “If you want to gather honey, don't kick over the beehive.” - Dale Carnegie

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Algonquin, IL, USA
    Posts
    638

    Default Re: Platform Scale Up and Running (pics)

    This is something I know a lot about. I've been keeping a hive on a scale for 4 years now. It's been a lot of fun, and allows me to collect varietal honey very easily. You can easily tell when a flow is on. Things bloom . . . hive gains weight . . . it's that simple. Things stop blooming . . .. hive stops gaining weight. It's about as easy as falling off a log to tell when you should harvest. Hive goes up by 50 lbs . . . super is full. I wouldn't keep bees without it.

    Questions??? I've experienced four winters and summers with the scale, I have probably noticed about every nuance in weight gain/loss with the hive you can imagine.

    Here are my four varieties harvested from the same hive. . . Black Locust, Linden, Goldenrod, Aster . . .

    My best day came during the Black Locust flow . . . 20 lbs gained in one day.



    https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bwi...it?usp=sharing

    Here's some Black Locust Honey on the right!!!

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bwi...it?usp=sharing
    Last edited by c10250; 04-03-2014 at 08:12 AM.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Colorado Springs, CO
    Posts
    355

    Default Re: Platform Scale Up and Running (pics)

    c10250,

    What type of scale are you using? Is it a platform scale like bnatural mentions in Post #1? Or, is it one of the digital scales like outve mentions in Post # 18 ? If the latter, which model?

    I have/use a platform scale like in Post#1 and have tried and failed with a digital scale. The reason for failure with the digital scale is that when the scale goes to "sleep" the load (hive) must be removed from the scale and then replaced. The hive is too heavy for me to do so.

    Suggestions or ideas?

    Steve

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Algonquin, IL, USA
    Posts
    638

    Default Re: Platform Scale Up and Running (pics)

    Quote Originally Posted by Bear Creek Steve View Post
    c10250,

    What type of scale are you using? Is it a platform scale like bnatural mentions in Post #1? Or, is it one of the digital scales like outve mentions in Post # 18 ? If the latter, which model?

    I have/use a platform scale like in Post#1 and have tried and failed with a digital scale. The reason for failure with the digital scale is that when the scale goes to "sleep" the load (hive) must be removed from the scale and then replaced. The hive is too heavy for me to do so.

    Suggestions or ideas?

    Steve
    I simply use an old platform scale. The hive sits on the scale 365 days a year.

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