36. Bee Keeping Equipment – How To Use Beehive Tools And Equipment?

Proper tools and equipment will make your beekeeping easier and save a lot of time as well as money. Bee keeping equipment is essential to keep your bees healthy. Tools are necessary for removing the hive cover, as well as for separating and cleaning the frames installed in the hive box. Different types of tools and equipment are used for removing propolis, opening honey combs, extracting honey, filtering and processing honey. Find here how the bee keeping equipment and tools are used in Beekeeping.

How to use Bee hive Tools & Equipment?
Here are some basic beekeeping tools and their uses discussed briefly. If you need something to buy for Beekeeping or some thing else, Visit Beekeeping Supplies – Amazon.

01. Hand Gloves

Hand gloves are essential to keep safe your hands while working on a beehive. Hands are more likely to get sting as mostly comes in contact with bees. For better protection leather gloves are recommended.

02. Use smoker

A smoker is a metal pot with attached bellows, essential tool for a beekeeper. A smoker blows puff of smoke on the hives when necessary. Suitable fuel materials include cotton rags, coconut bark, pine needles and cardboard and tobacco is used to make it more effective. The smoke causes the bees to become calm, so they are less likely to become annoyed or excited which may restrict from stings. When bees are smoked, they sense danger and reduce their anger.

Some smoke may be blown before opening the beehives. Large scale of smoke should be blown if the hive is attacked by mite. But too much smoke will drive bees away from the hives. The best-size smoker for an individual beekeeper is the 4 x 7-inch machine available in the market which is medium size and The University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences recommend this size.

Bee Keeping Equipment – How To Use Beehive Tools And Equipment?
VIVO Smoker
Use a cedar chip smoker to calm honeybees before opening up the hive for inspection or harvest honey or any other reason. Place some sticks and cedar chips or tobacco inside the smoker, and light the firewood until it catches fire and strengthen with air to generate smoke. Flow the smoke to the entrance lightly before opening the hive, and smoke the bees lightly again once while open.

You can buy here a stainless steel Smoker: Bee Hive Smoker – Stainless Steel with Heat Shield, Beekeeping Equipment from VIVO, Model BEE-V001.

Honeybees will gorge themselves on honey because they believe fire will soon engulf their hive, which in turns makes slower their anger, as fear of death is a weapon to calm everybody in the earth. Several types of smokers are available for different kinds of hives: professional-grade smokers will work on a dozen of hives at a time, while smaller grade ones will work on five or six. Whatever the size, the smoker should have a protecting heat screen and leather billows.

To make good smoke you need something like tobacco, or pellet. Find here to buy: KwikStart Smoker Pellet by Mann Lake, Model HD554.

03. Use Beekeeping Brush

Removing bees from the hive can cause cell damage. Using a bee brush tool is a safer method to remove bees from honey combs or when checking the hives or collecting honey. The bee brush is made with soft hair or bristles to prevent damage on the hive cells. Similar to a long human-hair brush, the bristles are usually four inches long.

Beekeepers find this tool essential for basic bee removal. But using a bee brush to remove a large quantity of bees can be boring. Feathers or a tree branch with green leaves will work in a similar way, but it must be used with caution so that it will be less likely to contaminate or puncture the hive cells.

04. Use Scraper/hive tool

You may use a hive tool/scraper for scraping wax, loosen hive parts and manipulate frames. A Scraper is long, flat, metal tool that have a rounded hook on one end (think crowbar) and a flat scraper on the other end. Use the hook end when lifting frames from the hives and the scraper to clean your hives from wax and gum that are generated and collected by bees respectively.

Bee keeping Equipment – Beekeeping Supplies – Beehives Tools And Equipment.
Hive Scraper
Hive scraper is used to remove frames or combs from the walls of hives and instantly opening hive cover, feeder etc. This multipurpose lever is made from metal and the best size of which is 10 inches long according to the suggestion of the University of Illinois Cooperative Extension.

This tool fits comfortably in the beekeeper’s hand, and it should be cleaned periodically to remove excess beeswax stack with. The tool also cleans off the sap used by bees to fill the small gaps between hives, frames and honey. You should clean a hive tool by burning it in a hot fire or stabbing it in the ground to prevent bee diseases from spreading among different hives.
Bee keeping Equipment.
A complete beehive includes the following:

1. Bee Hives

Here is a picture of complete beehive that includes Brood box, super and hive cover.

2. Brood box

Picture of only Brood box with 8 frames. Beekeepers mostly used this type of brood box.

3. Super

This is the picture of 10 frames super box. But you have to install it with 10 frames brood box. Remember, if your brood box includes 8 frames you have to use super box with 8 frames.

4. Bee frame

Bee keeping Equipment – Beekeeping Supplies – Beehives Tools And Equipment.
Bee hives cover
You can buy complete frame with wax sheet assembled: 10-Pack Assembled Commercial Frames with Waxed Natural Rite-Cell Foundation, 9-1/8-Inch, by Mann Lake, Model WW906.

Bee frame naturally grown cells with wax and made by bees. To help bees make their frames rapidly beekeepers use manual wax sheet with frame as foundation; so that, they can complete making cells within a short time. It’s very useful in harvesting season, but used in all the year round. This is the base of making frame and help the bees to complete the remaining works fast; so that they can be attentive to collect nectar and ultimately you’ll get more honey. Now you know why these manual wax sheets are essential in harvesting season.

5. Beehive cover

After keeping the bees in the hive it should be well protected with cover. The bees then tend to block all the holes (if any) with propolis. Propolis is one kind of gum collected from trees.

You can buy here such ready wax sheet: 100-Pack Waxed Rite-Cell Foundation, 8-1/2-Inch, Natural by Mann Lake, Model FN800.

B. Harvester or Honey Extractor

01. Manual Extractor

When you feel that honey in the beehives become mature enough to harvest, take out each frame from colony, remove bees with soft brush and keep the honey combs in extract machine.

Extract machine can be either manual or automatic. For small production a manual machine can be used but while your farm is large, manual machine is not feasible.

02. Automatic Extractor

To save the time and work with ease automatic extractor can be used although it’s more costly than a manual machine.

03. Filter

Honey harvester is used to extract honey, sieve (filter) to clean the honey, funnel to put the honey into drum etc.

Bee keeping Equipment – Beekeeping Supplies – Beehives Tools And Equipment.
Second Filter to separate small particles from Honey

And some pots are used to boil the honey to control moisture manually.

Filter your extracted honey nicely to consume raw honey or to preserve for processing and packaging.

04. Funnel/Cone

Funnel or cone is used to fill the jar or pot with honey. Without funnel it’s difficult to fill the jar. Before keep in jar the honey must be filtered well.

05. Other tools

Other tools and equipment are musk or net helmet, knife, wax heater, wax sheet maker, comb puller etc.

C. Raw Honey processing equipment

Honey processing machine can be manual or automatic. Automatic machine is definitely costly but processing is easy and more scientific.

For a small beekeeper manual processing is feasible and suggested to keep moisture level 18% to 22%. For large quantity of honey, automatic machine is very useful and necessary.

Honey is boiled with vapor instead of direct heat. For large scale processing auto machine is used which is expensive. But for small quantity of honey manual processing can be done.

Tips & Warnings

01. Use bee hives equipment with utmost care to avoid accident. Before opening hive cover always wear beekeeping suit, veil, shoes, and hand gloves.

02. Avoid opening the hive cover at mid-day, and hot weather. Put off your bracelet, watch and don’t use any perfume before going to beehives.

Resources of information

National Honey Board
American Honey Producers Association
American Bee Journal
The Pollination Home Page
Photo Credit – Google images – unrestricted
Experience of my own beekeeping project

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