How Do You Use a Beehive Scale?

The beehive scale is a type of digital torque adaptor that features a special lift bracket that you can use to weigh your beehives. The torque adaptor is marketed to be used for measuring how much a bolt or nut is tightened. You can find a plastic carrying case that contains the instruction sheet for using the unit if ever you have to refer to it. While this torque adaptor is only ordinary, the lift bracket with its special design is the reason that makes this set up unique and helpful for the purpose of weighing your hives.

The Initial Setup Process 

A transparent plastic film piece will likely stick out from below the battery cover behind the torque adaptor. The purpose of this is to ensure that the unit doesn’t turn on again and again during the shipping and unnecessarily using the battery. You just have to remove the plastic without removing the battery cover. 

Beehive scale and how it works
Demonstration of the operation of a beehive scale

You can power on the unit by pressing and releasing the M button. The display will temporarily show cAo. The unit will beep and the red LED will flash one. The unit is set for measuring in kg-cm that you can see in the display’s lower right portion. Just press then release the U button two times so you can change to in-lbs from kg-cm. Turn off that straight arrow that points downward found in the upper left corner of the display. To do this, you should press and release the T button once. 

You can now use the unit to weigh your hives. Provided that you don’t change them, the initial settings will stay the same until the battery is replaced or dies. But, it is highly recommended that you check this display when taking measurements in case there are accidental changes to the settings. 

How Does a Beehive Scale Work?

It is actually very simple to weigh your hives. To get started, you need to assemble together all the components of the scale. Snap the torque adaptor’s male end to the ½” drive to the 3/8” drive adaptor. Snap the adaptor’s male end to the lift bracket’s square cut-out. Plug a 1/2″ breaker bar or drive ratchet to the torque adaptor’s female end. 

You can then use the scale for weighing almost anything you need or want. You just need to lift one side or end of the item high enough so you can insert and lift the bracket roughly center under it. You just need to power on the unit and use the 1/2” ratchet to steadily and slowly rotate in clockwise direction the lift bracket until you lift the item to around ¼” or so. It will immediately display the weight and you can set down the item. 

Beehive scale and parts
Where is located beehive scale and all parts installed

The reading shown is the total weight of the item in pounds, assuming that the item’s weight is distributed evenly more or less. After you record the weight, press and hold the M button for up to 2 seconds for the display to show zero. 

If you like, you can try taking a reading or two then compare them or determine the average. Take note that it is much easier pushing down on the ratchet instead of pulling up on it. It is also very important for the torque adaptor not to touch anything while taking the measurements. When it does, the readings will be incorrect and may end up damaging the plastic housing. When you have a hard time seeing the display, the torque adaptor housing can be rotated around the shaft to one of the eight different positions. 

Weighing Your Beehives

For you to ensure that your readings are more accurate, you need to set up your hive so that the hive bodies’ handles are in the back and front of the hive. Due to the way the bees store their nectar in the combs when they make honey, it is important that all of the hive’s combs are lifted in similar way with the beehive scale. Once the handles are at the back and front, the combs will be perpendicular to the back of the hive and this is where you will take the measurements. 

The hives’ screened floors have an opening found at the bottom rear often used to insert the varroa mite board. It is the ideal place for inserting the lift bracket every time you weigh the hive, that is, if yur hive is not on the ground but on some sort of stand.

Fall Hive Prep Part 1: How to weigh your hive with a manual and electronic scale monitor.

It is also optional to create a gap in between the floor and the bottom hive body by placing metal washers below the corners of one part of the body of the hive. Form enough space for inserting the lift bracket. You can leave the washers indefinitely provided that there is minimal space to let the bees exit or enter through the created gap. Remove the hive’s roof and don’t forget to roughly center the lift bracket every time you take measurements. 

Keep in mind that honey tends to be very heavy. Many new beekeepers don’t really realize how heavy this can get. When you have a heavy hive, it is because it has plenty of stores inside. The hive itself made from wood, the wax, pollen, brood, and bees make up just a tiny fraction of the total weight. 

Now, what is the meaning behind the weight readings on your beehive scale? 

First, you should determine the approximate weight of your hive if it doesn’t have any stores. The weight higher than the determination comes from sugar syrup or honey that you feed. Every hive component will have its own weight. 

There are still many important things you should know about integrating the use of the beehive scale to your hive management. Be sure to continue monitoring the weight of your hive so you can be sure that your efforts are paying off and guarantee that your hive is in great and healthy condition.

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