Tools to raise a successful honey bee colony

Every apiarist needs tools to help assist them in raising honey bees, but with all the different things out there it can be hard to figure out what is essential and what is just extra equipment.  In this article we’ll be discussing the tools you’ll need to start a successful honey bee hive and get it to thrive.

1.  Bee Brush

A bee brush is an essential part of any bee keepers repertoire and is used to gently move bees from an area without agitating them.  Although getting an expensive brush is not necessary, it is important to get an actual bee brush; they’re often made of special materials that are gentle and won’t damage the bees wings.

2.  Propolis Tool

A propolis tool looks much like a little crowbar and is used for a variety of tasks including removing frames, separating boxes, and scraping propolis from boxes and frames.  Use this as a general purpose pry bar for any task.

3.  Bee Facial Protection

All apiarists require facial protection, a single sting to the face can cause severe swelling and allergic reactions, not to mention the trauma of the sting (we know!).  For the best, most comfortable experience, be sure to choose a helmet that has a hard top and 360 degree mesh view.

4.  Bee Suit

Depending on your circumstance, a bee suit can be the easiest thing to get.  We recommend a heavy painters suit as it is easily replaced when torn and can be purchased for about $10 at your local hardware store.  Be sure to use rubber bands to secure your ankles and wrists if the suit you choose does not have elastic in those areas.

5.  Good Gloves

What defines a good glove when it comes to handling bees?  The key is something that allows you to maintain your dexterity while providing adequate protection from bee stings.  Many people use dish washing gloves.  Some prefer thin gardening gloves.  The choice varies from person to person, but be sure to pick something that can be easily washed, as honey and propolis will often create a “sticky situation”.

6.  Smoker

A smoker is used to calm bees before opening a hive or when doing any work around the hive.  When looking around for a smoker, we recommend getting a basic smoker made of metal that contains a wire exterior mesh to protect from the heat generated when lighting your smokeables.

7.  Spray Bottle

A general purpose garden spray bottle is all you’ll need to apply a sugar/water mix on your bees, which will reduce flying and make them begin cleaning themselves.  Be sure to use a clean, new spray bottle that has not contained any harmful chemicals or pesticides.

8.  Pine Needles/Smoking Materials

Ever smoker requires something to smoke.  The Nectar Gold team recommends simple pine needles with a few green leaves on top.  This method is free, easy, and 100% natural.  The other choice is to purchase a smokeable from your local honey bee product supplier and light according to the directions.

9. A Knife

You’ll want to have a knife on hand for miscellaneous use; sometimes the propolis tool just isn’t enough or you need a different shape.  The knife solves this problem.

10.  A Container

When working with bees, it’s wise to have a container for storing propolis, broken honey comb, and other materials you may encounter during your process.

Putting these tools to use will assist any starting bee keeper in their quest to raise healthy, happy honey bees.

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