The practice of beekeeping has gained a lot of popularity in the past few years. One can gain skills and knowledge through the practice and enjoy monetary benefits by selling pure honey and bee by-products. While starting a beekeeping venture, one must choose the right season, the right location for bees. Further on, ethical and sustainable beekeeping is propagating across the globe; thus, a beekeeper must also focus on gaining knowledge about the current practices through networking and books.
6 Key Beekeeping Tools and Equipment
Another important aspect while starting the venture is acquiring necessary beekeeping tools and equipment. Buying beekeeping supplies is a significant upfront expense. Return on investment from an apiculture venture can take over two years. Thus, it is recommended to purchase essential tools. Here is a list of 6 key tools and equipment that a beekeeper must invest in to start the venture.
1. Bee Suit
The first piece of equipment that a beekeeper must invest in is a bee suit. A bee suit is protective clothing that covers every inch of skin from head to toe. It is necessary to protect oneself from bee stings. This beekeeping gear includes a veil, jacket, and pants, which either comes in separate pieces or a jumper-style suit. Several experienced beekeepers choose not to wear a bee suit, while others prefer to wear the veil and jacket only.
Some believe bees can sense and react aggressively to heavy breathing caused by stress. Thus, only if you can be completely calm and comfortable with the bees (and your breathing can be under control) can you choose to skip on wearing the complete suit.
2. Hive Tool
A hive tool is a thin metal bar used for various purposes in the hive. It is about 1/4 inch thick, 2 inches wide, and 7 inches long. It is probably the most used equipment. The bees cover the hive completely with wax and propolis, and a hive tool is employed to break these seals. It is also used, among other reasons, to cut open the honeycomb, remove unwanted intruders such as hive beetles. The hive tool is relatively inexpensive and is extremely useful.
3. Bee Smoker
A bee smoker is made of stainless steel. It has a nozzle to direct smoke, metal guards to guard the beekeeper’s hands, and bellows usually made of wood and leather. A beekeeper may use this tool to generate a harmless cool smoke inside the hive that calms the bees down before working with the hive. This is another way to restrain bee stings and allows the beekeepers to work peacefully in the hive.
4. Honey Extractor
A honey extractor is a mechanized device employed by beekeepers to extract raw honey from bee combs without destroying them. The extractor consists of a cylindrical drum that holds the frame basket and gets spun around to extract pure honey. The benefit of this extraction method is that the wax and combs can return to the bees undamaged.
5. Queen Excluder
The queen excluder is a metal rack with slits small enough to allow passage to the worker and drone bees while keeping the queen bee in her place. This tool is helpful if a beekeeper wants to control where the queen bee lays her eggs. An excluder can be employed to keep the queen home when a beekeeper feels she is getting ready to abandon the hive to lay eggs in another place.
6. Bee Brush
This tool is generally 14 inches long and has soft yellow bristles. It is employed to gently remove bees from frames, honey supers, or another area where they may be assembling and hindering the beekeeper’s tasks. Although, a bee brush can be replaced with a good quality soft paintbrush it will probably cost as much or even more than a bee brush.
Bee Prepared for the Beekeeping Season
For a beekeeper, it is wise to be prepared with all the necessary tools and equipment before the beekeeping season begins. Though the activity of apiculture does not consume a lot of time, it is time-sensitive. Today more than ever, it is crucial for beekeepers to be proactive to ensure that the colonies survive and thrive.
BeeHively Group provides complete support to its network of beekeepers, including providing modern beekeeping equipment, beekeeping starter kits, and vital tools. Our modern equipment not only makes activities around the hive easier for beekeepers but is also helpful for the sustainable extraction of honey.