If you are just starting your beekeeping journey, you’ve probably heard or read endless amounts of advice about the best hives, practices, and tricks to keep your bees healthy, happy, and productive. Every beekeeper is different, but a few common basics are required by all. Keep in mind this list of important beekeeping equipment as you explore the methods that work best for you and your bees.
1. Protective Clothing
Many different pieces of protective equipment may be worn by beekeepers. Some prefer complete suits that cover their whole bodies, while others wear only a hat and a veil. You can decide what you prefer for yourself, but starting out with a sweater, boots, and a hat and veil is probably a good idea. You may also wear gloves, but when you are working in the hive, this may restrict your dexterity. Even if you’re fine without a lot of protective gear, having a package on hand for any guests or for days when your honey bees feel agitated is always a good idea.
When they feel like their hive is under threat, even the mildest of honey bees will turn aggressive. This is why your list of important beekeeping equipment should be high for a smoker. They release a warning pheromone when honey bees feel threatened, which alerts other bees in the danger area. If the guard bees, as you approach, are suspicious of you, they will stir the whole hive into an angry frenzy. This is when it comes to the smoker. The warning pheromone is covered by smoke, which prevents it from alerting other bees and keeps the rest of the hive quiet while you work.
3. Hive Tool
The hive tool is another invaluable component of the toolbox of every beekeeper. You can open the hive, scrape off propolis (also known as bee glue), raise frames, and otherwise work around the hive with this handheld, multipurpose tool. You may also use it to crack the honeycomb open or brush the hive with unwanted pests. It is a simple method, but it is a vital component of hive inspections, making it useful for beekeepers of all levels of experience.
4. Hive Scraper
Brushing down the bees with the upright frame means you are brushing the bees against the comb angle. Where the cells are uncapped, this has a damaging effect. The legs of the bees get stuck and you end up killing the bulk of the bees. So be careful that you do not do that.
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5. Hive Frames
Hive frames are next on your list. These are wooden rectangles hanging inside the individual boxes to provide the bees with a place to create the foundation of the honeycomb that will make up their hives. There’s nothing for the bees to build on without the foundation.
Hive frames are very easy. You can purchase them from the same supplier that supplies your hives quite inexpensively. You can buy some lumber at the hardware store and make it yourself if you want to save a little money. But do this only if you are handy at carpentry. You might not get the best results from them if your hive frames don’t match correctly.
Although not necessary, to go along with the frames, you can also buy foundations. Foundations go underneath to provide the honeycomb structure of the bees with a frame. Your bees will spend less building time and more honey production time. You will not wish for foundations, however. Beekeepers who prefer a more natural beekeeping approach frequently leave them at bay. Any path is perfect.
6. Honey Extractor
A system that uses centrifugal force to squeeze the honey out of the comb is a honey extractor. They come in different sizes and types and are intended to fulfill nearly every need and budget. However, consider a model that can at least take in four frames at a time for an excellent performance.
Honey extractors are available online for sale, so you can order one and have it delivered to your door right away. For several hives, you can have one honey extractor.
7. Honey Uncapping Knife
For fast and clean slicing through wax cappings on the honeycomb, uncapping knives are used. Normally, these cappings establish an airtight seal on the cells that house the honey, rendering it difficult to remove. With the electrically heated uncapping knife, you are able to cut the “lids” in order to extract the honey from the combs. You can also use a big serrated bread knife if you don’t have an electric knife. To stop diluting the honey, dip it in hot water and wipe it dry before using it.
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8. Honey Strainer
You have to strain it before bottling the extracted honey. You will eliminate any tiny bits of wax, sticky bees, wood, and any other small particles by straining the honey. Any type of typical kitchen strainer or a fine-sieved colander can be used to do this. Nevertheless, from any beekeeping retailer, you can always purchase a good stainless-steel honey strainer.
9. Honey Uncapping Fork
For scraping open cappings, this system is used. They are generally used either as an adjunct to the uncapping knife or as a replacement. This fork helps to free up stubborn cells that the uncapping knife may have left out.
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10. Bee Brush
The bee brush is a tool used before they are put in the extractor to brush bees off the frames. Use the bee brush gently, so as not to hurt the bees.
Turning the frames upside down before brushing is the perfect method for brushing off bees. This means that the bees are quickly dropped off so that you can easily get the job done with little to no losses. To get similar effects, you can also brush the frames upwards. This is because the honeycomb is shaped in such a way that both of its sides angle up from the comb’s middle. Brushing down the bees with the upright frame means you are brushing the bees against the comb angle. Where the cells are uncapped, this has a damaging effect. The legs of the bees get stuck and you end up killing the bulk of the bees. So be careful that you do not do that.
Other Beekeeping Tools
- Net used to cover hives during transport.
- Placed between the brood and honey supers to allow space for pollen patties.
- Used to hold queens temporarily or for the transportation of queens.
- Hand‐held spacer. Usually made for 9 frames.
- Used to remove frames from colonies
- Hold frames outside of the hive while you work with the other frames in the hive.
- Allows 2 people to carry a colony easily.