A useful piece of kit
A scale hive is a useful piece of equipment that can help a beekeeper to understand a little more about the income of a hive. A hive scale can be simply made by a reasonable carpenter with basic woodworking tools. All that is needed is a little timber, a few small mirrors and a set of mechanical bathroom scales.
Any increase in weight is not likely to be all nectar as may be assumed, but a mixture of nectar, pollen, propolis and water. The sensible thing to do is to take measurements twice a day. The reasons may not be obvious to the inexperienced beekeeper, who may think that everything that causes weight gain is honey.
The Irish Hive Scale (button top left) was designed at the Irish research station at Clonroche, Co Wexford and is still used my many Irish beekeepers. I'm told the record income in one day at Clonroche was 28lb. In the following morning the reduction was 14lb. As this reduction was probably mainly water, it is likely that around 1.4 gallons (6.3 ltrs) of water was evaporated by the bees overnight.
To reflect some rather more sophisticated hive scales I have given a link to colonymonitoring.com.