Bee Equipment Essentials: What beekeeping supplies will you need? Whatever your motives for starting to keep bees, pleasure and profit seekers alike will all need the right equipment. Doing business with the bees requires a unique set of tools. Here’s an introduction to some of what you will be using to manage your bee colony successfully.
Lets talk a bit about the bee equipment you will need, e.g. hive tools, smokers, and protective clothing. These are not the only things you will need, but are at the top of the list for the things you absolutely should not do without.
The first piece of bee equipment you will need if a hive tool. Your hive tool is like an ordinary pry bar. This tool is designed to do a few different tasks. Initially, it can help you pry open a hive that might get stuck due to the bees application of propolis. Propolis is a sealant the bees use to close up gaps they think need some repair. The hive tool is designed to help you scrape and remove any sticky parts you don’t want sticking. Additionally it can also be used to dismantle and do your own repairs to the hive.
There are different hive tools on the market to choose from. All of your basic functions can be performed with an inexpensive Red J. It is a great tool for removing frames from your hive. The “J” refers to the actual shape of the tool. An Orange J is an upgraded version of the Red J. You’ll find it is broader and somewhat sturdier. Better suited for removing nails and cleaning out the bottom boards is the Yellow. It’s ends are broad, with only one of them curving downward.
Protective beekeeping clothing
The bee suit is often the first think that the amateur beekeeper thinks of when bee equipment is mentioned. Ideally, you should have a full beekeeping suit, but at the least a hat and veil to protect your head and face. Some beekeepers dare to approach their hives without them. Once you get stung in the face you can expect some discomfort for a couple of days. Getting stung in the eye could even blind you, so it’s just not worth the risk.
The smoker is perhaps the strangest piece of bee equipment. A smoker will deter the bees when you approach the hive. It has a calming and mesmerizing effect on them. It resembles a tall cylindrical kettle with a billow out the back. For some natural smoke you can ignite pine needles or corn cobs. Any untainted and chemical free natural materials will work in your favor to keep the bees and your honey safe.
Stainless steel and copper are commonly used to make smokers. While copper is more traditional, stainless steel will be more resistant to the elements. Always use caution when handling a lit smoker as it will get hot.
There are more tools you will need as a beekeeper, but these are by far the most important. Hopefully if you are a newcomer to beekeeping, this has given you a better understanding of some things to expect.
Author: Val Wilson is passionate about all things beekeeping! It is an incredibly rewarding hobby in so many ways, with more and more everyday people realizing the joys of hobby beekeeping. If you would like more information about how to start beekeeping, go to http://www.bestbeekeeping.com and sign up for the FREE 7 day beekeeping ecourse.