While many of the ideas and plans on this site are original Stonehaven designs, I just have to rave about this absolutely brilliant device for weighing beehives up to 250 lbs. – easily, and without really lifting them.
Tom Rearick at Beehacker.com "hacked" an expired patent for a pry scale and came up with a portable scale that lifts one side of the hive enough to give you a reading on the scale (which you then double to get the approximate total weight.)
Hive weight provides useful information
So why would you want to weigh your hives?
According to the inventor:
If I could weigh a hive, I would know a lot more than I do now…
- I would know the population of the runaway swarm …estimated at 3500 bees per pound.
- I would know the mass of nectar (and pollen) gathered during the day and of water evaporated at night. One pound equals roughly 1.04 US pints.
- I would know the number of bees foraging by monitoring the loss of weight in bees leaving in the morning.
- I would know the rate of growth of daily nectar collection as a nectar flow began.
- I could compare my hives with the hives of others and with my own hives in previous years.
This portable device allows you to weigh several hives in just a few minutes without disturbing the bees, which means you can take several measurements thoughout the day or daily throughout the season. And it’s easy to use. Just slip a piece of wood with a notch cut for the scale fingers under the back of your bottom boards and they’ll be ready to weigh at any time.
NASA-sponsored Honeybee Research
Another good reason to make one of these handy-dandy gadgets would be to participate in the Honey Bee Network – a project of hobby beekeeper and veteran NASA Biological Oceanographer, Wayne Esaias. Wayne’s taking a down-to-earth approach to studying the relationship between bees, forage and climate change by encouraging a network of beekeepers to track hive weights throughout the season and comparing them to Satellite images which can track plant life cycles.
Tom is challenging entrepreneurs to take his idea and run with it.
There is nothing stopping you from building these devices and selling them. Rather, I hope you do. And I hope you make a ton of money. If you do, you will end up helping a lot of beekeepers and even more bees. This is my original idea and it is not patented (as far as I know) and I have no intention to patent it. I only ask that you attribute the design to beehacker.com.
This pry scale looks like it would come in handy for a variety of other uses as well. You can also find the complete instructions to build your own portable hive weigh scale here.