Wednesday, March 2, 2011 at 9:18AM
After the hive is set up a beekeeper will need a few tools and bits of clothing in order to manage the hive.
1. Hive Tool: It would be impossible to inspect a beehive without a hive tool. That is the beekeeper name for a pry bar. It is used to open and inspect hives, and scrape wax and propolis out of the hive. It can be an emergency hammer, scrape bee stingers off skin and pull nails. You can’t keep bees without one.
2. Smoker: It is a misnomer to say that using smoke “calms” the bees. That isn’t what happens. The smoke distracts the bees, allowing the beekeeper to make an inspection or harvest frames of honey. It is basically a metal can with a bellows and a spout attached to it. Beekeepers get to start a fire inside it, close the lid and then use the smoke to manage the bees.
3. Gloves: Not all beekeepers use gloves but since that is where a beekeeper is most likely to get stung, it might pay to wear some. There are different kinds made with different materials but any good fitting sturdy pair of gloves will work.
4. Hat and Veil: More important than gloves is a hat and veil. A veil is just a mesh screen that keeps the bees away from your head. You may be tempted on a sunny day when the bees are busy, to work your hive without a veil. That is the day a guard bee will go right for your face.
5. Frame spacer: This tool makes it easy to properly space the frames of honey or brood inside the hive. Proper spacing is very important because if frames are placed to close together or far apart, the bees will either close the gap or build more comb in between the frames. While this is perfectly logical from a bee’s perspective, it makes working a hive more time consuming and messy for the beekeeper.
6. Bee brush: This brush has long soft bristles and is used when a beekeeper is harvesting frames of honey. A frame of honey is pulled up out of the hive and the bees are gently brushed off, back into the hive, Then the beekeeper quickly hides the frame of honey in a separate box with a lid so the bees can’t get at it again.
7. Feeder: When a new package of bees is installed, they go into an empty hive with no food. A feeder is used to supply sugar syrup until there is enough natural forage for the bees to bring back to the hive to make into honey.
8. Beekeeping book or Beekeeper: Everyone starting out in beekeeping needs a good source of information. Beekeeping is fascinating but can be very confusing almost all the time.
A good book or experienced beekeeper are invaluable.
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