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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    Greensboro, North Carolina
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    Default Actual weight of 3 lb. package

    I picked up, and installed, 5 three pound packages of bees today. Out of curiosity, I weighed the packages before I shook the bees out, and after. Just wondering if anyone else has done the same.

    Now, a package will include:
    1. The wooden housing unit
    2. A can of syrup
    3. Three lbs of bees (ideally); and
    4. A queen in a queen cage, with candy.

    Now after the bees have been sitting in the cage for a while, they should be eating some of the syrup. And since they have been unable to use the bathroom, theoretically if you put three pounds of bees in the package, after a few days the bees should weigh more than three lbs. At least theoretically. Here's the results that I got:

    Weight with bees:
    1. 6 lbs. 7.9 oz.
    2. 6 lbs. 4.9 oz.
    3. 6 lbs. 12.2 oz.
    4. 6 lbs. 5.9 oz.
    5. 5 lbs. 14.6 oz.
    Average: 6 lbs. 5.9 oz.

    Weight when bees removed, can returned (minus weight of benton cage, as it was installed with bees):
    1. 3 lbs. 13.2 oz.
    2. 3 lbs. 11.9 oz.
    3. 3 lbs. 15.2 oz.
    4. 3 lbs. 13.5 oz.
    5. 3 lbs. 6.2 oz.
    Average: 3 lbs. 12 oz.

    Which means the difference was (or the actual weight of the bees and benton cage):
    1. 2 lbs. 10.7 oz.
    2. 2 lbs. 9 oz.
    3. 2 lbs. 13 oz.
    4. 2 lbs. 8.4 oz.
    5. 2 lbs. 8.4 oz.
    Average: 2 lbs. 9.9 oz.

    Which essentially means I didn't buy 3 lb. packages. I bought 2.5 lb packages (or probably a little bit less, after they gorged themselves on syrup). Not really that big of a deal in the end. Just interesting.

    I always thought that package suppliers shook a little bit more than 3 lbs. in each package. I guess I thought wrong

    Anyone else ever notice the same?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    covington ga
    Posts
    173

    Default Re: Actual weight of 3 lb. package

    wow....thats interesting...i also thought they put in a little more for death.. ...may i ask who you got packages from? if you want to email heres my addy thezechmans@yahoo.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    5,892

    Default Re: Actual weight of 3 lb. package

    Those are interesting figures that you posted.


    > And since they have been unable to use the bathroom, theoretically if you put three pounds of bees in the package, after a few days the bees should weigh more than three lbs.

    I believe that you are overlooking at least one issue here. Any creature, including bees and humans, converts food [energy] into muscle movement, and consumes a portion of that food. Energy for moving muscles come from a chemical conversion process of that organism's food. And since one of the outputs of that conversion process is energy, the weight will be reduced. Some of the food mass may be evaporated into the air via respiration (and perspiration for mammals). Even if the bees don't poop in the cage, the combined weight of the bees and syrup will decline over time.

    The link below offers more information, although the page is focused around food energy conversion in humans, but it essentially works in a similar way for bees as well:

    http://cnx.org/content/m42153/latest...ol11406/latest

    .
    Last edited by Rader Sidetrack; 03-29-2013 at 01:50 PM. Reason: spelling
    ultracrepidarian >> noting or pertaining to a person who criticizes, judges, or gives advice outside of his expertise

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Athens, OH
    Posts
    2,665

    Default Re: Actual weight of 3 lb. package

    I recall a similar thread from a while back. The gist of it was that some suppliers were selling 3# (3lb) packages and others were selling #3 (No.3) packages. Last year, I weighed a single package from Rossman's, they came in at 3.1 lbs. net.
    Politics is the entertainment branch of industry. -Frank Zappa

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Acworth, GA
    Posts
    31

    Default Re: Actual weight of 3 lb. package

    I bought packages from two different suppliers and one was definitely smaller and lighter. I won't bring a scale. I just won't order from one of them again.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Flora,IL
    Posts
    2,646

    Default Re: Actual weight of 3 lb. package

    You miss the huge loss in weight from resperation of fluids. As mentioned they are useing the syrup, and holding it in will not keep the weight the same. most weight loss is from moisture.

    The big guys call it a number 3 now. not a 3lb, as your going to have problems. First off some outfits do weigh out 3.5 lbs. problem is those are fat fresh bees and in 5 days they are way less than 3 lbs, unless you feed the snot out of them thru the screen.

    Radners and Roberts both call them number 3, and fill them to just under the bar level in the cage. this is normaly about 4 lbs of Fresh bees.

    Don't use package weight as a measurment for anything, use how the bees do as your yardstick... thats what matters.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Greensboro, North Carolina
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    2,718

    Default Re: Actual weight of 3 lb. package

    Quote Originally Posted by Rader Sidetrack View Post
    Even if the bees don't poop in the cage, the combined weight of the bees and syrup will decline over time.
    Well said Rader. I wasn't attempting to imply that 100% of the syrup should have gone toward the bees weight. I was just implying that some of the syrup weight consumed should have been added to the bees weight. When a swarm gets ready to issue, the bees will gorge themselves on honey, in an attempt to have plenty of resources for their new move. Packages are not swarms, but bees shaken from established hives. Some of the bees are likely to have some food in their crops, but not gorged like swarm bees are. When put in the artificial hive (package), more often than not the instinct kicks in for them to store as much resources as possible for the coming move.

    More or less, if you took 1 lb of bees, and fed them 1 lb of 1:1 sugar water, naturally they would not, after an hour, weigh 2 lbs together. But one would assume that the bees would weigh around 1 lb, maybe more maybe less, and if they filled up on sugar water they would weigh more than the original 1 lbs. Not a full 2, obviously, but something more than 1.

    At least, that's what I was assuming. Very well might be incorrect.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
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    9,249

    Default Re: Actual weight of 3 lb. package

    Quote Originally Posted by Rader Sidetrack View Post
    Any creature, including bees and humans, converts food [energy] into muscle movement, and consumes a portion of that food.
    This is precisely why they should gain in weight. They are eating and not doing anything else.

    However, I would rather get 2.5 pounds of young bees then 4 pounds of old bees just about to kick. What the bee industry should have is a survival rate for each bee supplier where they have to keep records on packages sold vs. packages surviving one year. The higher the rating they achieve the higher price they can demand. Then the consumer can decide if they want to shop at Walmart or Sacs 5th ave.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
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    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
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    5,892

    Default Re: Actual weight of 3 lb. package

    It great to see that someone has finally made a thoughtful post in this thread! Way to go, Ace.
    ultracrepidarian >> noting or pertaining to a person who criticizes, judges, or gives advice outside of his expertise

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Athens, OH
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    2,665

    Default Re: Actual weight of 3 lb. package

    It's my understanding a No.3 package is just a vague way not to guarantee a weight.
    Politics is the entertainment branch of industry. -Frank Zappa

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Danbury, CT
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    2,887

    Default Re: Actual weight of 3 lb. package

    I am not sure that they are doing "nothing but eating". The majority of bees in the package can't get anywhere near the syrup can. Usually there are only 2-4 holes in the can so a relatively few numbers of bees are feeding and passing syrup off to everybody else. Or they are constantly switching places in the cluster... Either way; they are consuming energy. So a loss in weight isn't necessarily out of the question.

    Anybody who has transported a large number of packages knows that they expel a rather large amount of moisture... which also means a loss of weight. In the 20 or so hrs it takes me to get a load of packages back to New England I go through about 30-40 gallons of water that I give them to drink. Large package haulers have sprinklers set up in their trailers for the same purpose. So if the dealer didn't water the packages in transit a loss in weight is unquestionable because they are alive and breathing.
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Amador County, Calif
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    3,166

    Default Re: Actual weight of 3 lb. package

    Quote Originally Posted by Specialkayme View Post
    I always thought that package suppliers shook a little bit more than 3 lbs. in each package. I guess I thought wrong

    Anyone else ever notice the same?
    Just got 300 3 pounders shook yesterday with Phil, he was running the scale but I know Phil has a green light on the scale when at the 3 plus pound mark. Maybe Phil will chime in
    NUTRA-BEE feed supplements

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Solano, California, USA
    Posts
    1,306

    Default Re: Actual weight of 3 lb. package

    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Jarrett View Post
    Just got 300 3 pounders shook yesterday with Phil, he was running the scale but I know Phil has a green light on the scale when at the 3 plus pound mark. Maybe Phil will chime in

    To tired to respond before....... Keeping up with Keith and crew even on one of his slow days makes things tough.

    I can and will not reply for others.

    A couple of things to remember.

    1. Depending on the time of year, time of day and location the weight per bee can very greatly. Full stomachs mean package purchasers are paying for a lot of nectar and less "bee".
    A. Its best to shake early in the morning before the foragers have a chance to dump their load into the mouths of the house bees. Especially if the heat and humidity are up. Cool and breezy days it matters less.

    2. Bees.... like all other creatures loose weight when all other inputs are equal....... The longer the time from shake to hiving the larger the disparity in weight.........




    To keep things honest and the process as smooth and quick as possible when pouring we purchased a new "programmable" scale which arrived the day before we shook at Keiths a few days back.

    It not only displays the weight it also has a red ( low) ,yellow ( high), green ( within range) set of lights that display when the bees weigh in a certain range.

    A nice comparator scale that keeps things honest for Keith, myself, and our package purchasers. $1200 well spent.



    If you were to walk in my house right now and turn the scale on you would see that we set the range from 3.00 to 3.25 lbs with the goal 3.15.

    This give a little slack for shrinkage and any bees that fly back when pouring. Simple enough.


    All I can say is that if your not happy with your packages shop elsewhere. Until this fine land gets to the point where your government " supervisor" dictates who and where you must get both your health insurance and package bees from your still in luck...... and free. Well.......partially!

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Newberg, Oregon, USA
    Posts
    12

    Default Re: Actual weight of 3 lb. package

    This has been a fascinating thread from the OP to the stream of consciousness to this last post. I love to see the data but I really love to see the results. In the end, I'll vote with my pocketbook. The good product and service will get my repeat business and kudos on a forum and the poor ones will get a dishonorable mention and not a penny more. Thanks to the OP for collecting the data and for starting this cool thread.

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