Tools and Toys

In the last few posts, I’ve mentioned a few of the tools I use when I’m working with my hive, but here’s a quick introduction to the supplies I carry around in my bee bucket.  I think that only two of them are really important for most beekeepers, and the rest are fun and useful toys that are more of a choice than a necessity.

This is my Hive Tool

My Hive Tool

The most useful tool I have is called a hive tool. It’s basically a mini-crowbar, and beekeepers use it to pry parts of the hive apart, scrape and clean parts of the hive, move things that are covered in bees…pretty much any time you need to poke something, scrape something, or pry sticky things apart, this tool is your best friend.  I keep mine in a little pocket on the right leg of my bee suit, where it’s easy to reach when I need it.

The other important tool that most beekeepers use is a smoker.

My smoker, with the inside grate pulled out

My smoker, with the inner grate pulled out

Smoke encourages the bees to crawl back down between the frames and out of the beekeeper’s way, and which makes it a lot easier to work with a hive.  Lighting and using it can be enough of an adventure that I should probably devote a whole post to it soon.

Now for the toys-these are things I like to use when I’m working with bees, but at the end of the day, they’re optional, and it’s up to the beekeeper whether they use them or not.  Some beekeepers use more toys than me, many probably use fewer.  It’s all about what makes you comfortable.

This is a bee brush

This is a bee brush

I use my bee brush for exactly what you’d think-brushing  bees out of the way.  It has very soft bristles, so the bees won’t be hurt, and I mainly use it if the bees are crawling on the edge of the hive when I’m trying to get it closed-I don’t want to squish any of them if I can avoid it. I usually keep this in the pocket on my left leg while I’m working-I don’t need it very often, but when I do want it, I want to be able to get my hands on it right away!

This is a frame grabber

This is a frame grabber

Frame grabbers  make reaching down to pull out a sticky frame covered with stinging insects a lot easier-I always worry that I’ll squish bees or get stung (or both!) when I’m shoving my fingers in between frames and trying to grab one.  I find that it makes pulling a frame out of the hive a much more graceful experience, and I don’t worry that I’ll drop one nearly as much.

This handy toy is a frame perch

This handy toy is a frame perch

A frame perch (see arrow) hooks over the side of the beehive, and I can rest frames on it while they’re out of the hive, rather than setting them on the ground or keeping them in my hands.  I just bought it this year, and I already don’t know how I lived without it!

That’s pretty much everything I use when I’m working with the beehive.   It’s not a hobby that requires a lot of tools or technology.

Published in: on 22 May 2009 at 5:44 pm  Leave a Comment  
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