Best Beekeeping Tools Of 2018

best beekeeping tools

Beekeeping has been in practice for thousands of years. With that much time to develop as a skill, beekeepers through the years have figured out which tools are essential to expertly handle this craft. Although the aim of beekeeping is to extract honey in its most pure form, without the proper tools, you may harm the bees, or you may not be getting the best honey you can. Below we have listed the best beekeeping tools whether you're experienced or a newcomer to the skill.

Beekeeping FAQ's

1. What is Beekeeping?

Beekeeping is the maintenance of bee colonies, usually in man-made hives, by humans.

2. What Is the Purpose of Beekeeping

People keep bees to harvest products that bees create such as propolis, beeswax, and royal jelly. Some people may keep bees to pollinate crops or to produce bees for sale to other beekeepers.

3. How Does it Work?

Beekeepers or apiarist buy honey bees and place them in man-made hives. Once in the “hives,” the bees live as they naturally would, collecting nectar, creating beeswax and honey, and creating a colony all while the beekeeper keeps an eye on them. When the time comes, the beekeeper subdues the bees with smoke and extracts the honey, beeswax or propolis.

4. Where can you Buy Beekeeping Tools?

Beekeeping tools can be brought from a local beekeeper or online.

5. Price Range

These products range in price from about ten dollars.

How We Reviewed

The beekeeping tools listed below have been reviewed based on the quality of each item, its usefulness, and price.

Overall Price Range of Beekeeping Tools

All the tools mentioned here range in price from ten to two hundred dollars and will help you manage a beekeeping practice whether it's for pleasure or for business. However, the tools on the lower end may not be as sturdy or of as good quality of the more costly tools.

What We Reviewed

Bee hives are the housing for bees. Honeybees can make their own hives and make them almost anywhere, but the bee hive needed for beekeeping is designed and made by humans.

There are many types of bee hives available for beekeeping, but the type of hive you need depends on if you want to be able to move it, if you're beekeeping for a hobby or if you plan to make it a business. You can even DIY your beehive if you're handy.

There are 3 popular models of beehives. The Langstroth, which most people think of when they think of beekeeping and is considered the “granddaddy of beekeeping. The Warre which looks like a mini version of the Langstroth but new hive boxes are added under the original rather than on top like the Langstroth, and the inside of Warre hives are designed to look like the inside of a hollow tree. And Top Bar Hives, which is a more recent design of beehives and looks more like a box on top of a piano stand. Top Bar Hives are not expandable, but because they are at a more convenient height than the previous two designs, they allow the beekeeper more comfort when working with them.

Beehives provide the bees with a home but they also need something to build their honeycombs combs on, and beekeepers need an easy way to remove these honeycombs without destroying the whole hive.
Frames are rectangles that sit inside the beehives, and the bees build their combs on. On these frames is where the bees will make honey, lay their brood, and live their lives. The frames can be easily removed from the hive like pulling a file out of a filing cabinet, making it easy for beekeepers to extract the honey or beeswax without damaging the hive and put it back so the bees can rebuild.

Many beekeepers consider a hive tool a necessity because bees line their hives with propolis which is essentially a glue made from tree resin that the bees make to hold everything together and insulates the hive. Because of this pulling the frames apart is difficult, so a hive tool is useful in prying the frames apart. Hive tools are also used for cutting open honeycombs, squashing intruders in the hive, scraping away propolis and anything else you may need this versatile tool for.

While beekeeping is not necessarily dangerous, I've never heard of anyone enjoying a bee sting.

Gloves are important for protecting your hands. Imagine a bee stinging you right on the tip of your finger-not fun. Because you will have to reach into the hive to retrieve the frames or find the queen, you will need to cover your hands. The gloves you need should be made of a sturdy rubber material so bees can't sting you through them and you want the kind that covers your forearm as well to limit skin exposure.

A bee suit will cover the majority of your body excluding your hands and feet. It is an investment but an important one to protect yourself from stings and other physical contact with the bees. Bee suits can come either as a whole suit that will cover you in one piece or in individual pieces such as a veil, jacket, pants, and britches. If you insist on walking on the sting prone side of things at the very least you should wear a veil, bee stings and eyes are a great combination.
Bee suits can be on the more expensive side of things, and while a cheap suit may work well when you first start out, more expensive suits not only offer better protection but more comfortability as well. More expensive suits tend to be ventilated, meaning while you're out there covered from head to toe in sting proof material, the ventilated suit will allow air to move through so you're not in your own personal sauna.

Rounding out the protective gear lineup is shoes. Most beekeepers use rubber boots. The style of the boots does not matter, as long as they cover your feet (and calves in some cases), and are sturdy enough to keep bees from being able to sting you through them.

The smoker is probably the most recognized of the beekeeping tools. When smoke is present in a hive of bees, it makes their ability to communicate using their pheromones inactive because the smoke acts as a buffer. This makes the bees calm and able to go about doing their work. Without messages of danger spreading through the hive, the beekeeper can more easily go about the tasks of hive inspections, frame removals, splits and honey extractions.

You can't have beekeeping without bees! When starting out most beekeepers buy a nuc of bees (nuc being short for nucleus colony, which is a small colony of bees centered on a queen) or an entire bee hive.

Because nucs are less expensive than hives, beginning beekeepers tend to invest in nucs. Although there are fewer bees in a nuc than a hive if you happen to lose a nuc the financial burden is less.

Just like you can't have beekeeping without bees, you can't have bees without the queen. If you have a hive but no queen you can either buy her or raise her. But be warned, you will need to successfully introduce her to the hive because if they don't accept her, they will see her as a threat and kill her.

A queen marker is helpful to keep track of the queen. With bees all around it's hard to know where she is, and if you want to keep your hive, making sure the queen is on and actually in the hive is important. A queen marker makes the process of marking her hind quarters with a bright marker less difficult.

This tool is for regulating the movement of the queen and keeping her separated. If you want to go the natural beekeeping route, then this tool is not a necessity.

The slots in the grate are small enough for worker bees to pass through but not the queen, so you can keep here in a specific section of the hive for whatever reason you may have. For example, you can place a queen excluder above where the queen lays her brood to keep her from laying her eggs in the honey supers. Or if you are moving your bees to a new location, you can place a queen excluder in front of the hive door so the queen cannot leave, which means the others bees are also more likely to stay.

A bee brush is a very soft bristled brush used to gently remove bees from frames, honey supers or any other area where they may be in the beekeeper's way. Some beekeepers don't like bee brushes because even though the bristles are soft, if the user is using too much force the bees can still be harmed. Bees also have very delicate parts that can be easily damaged such as their legs and wings. In the event the use of the brush harms or irritates the bees, it can cause them to increase their alarm pheromones, which increases the chance of the beekeeper being stung. However, used correctly bee brushes are extremely useful.

Essential oils have a lot of uses around the beehive. They can be used to attract bees to the hive, to drive out hive beetles that will take over the hive if left unchallenged, and some beekeepers even add essential oils to the sugar water they sometimes used to supplement the bees foraging. If you plan on using essential oils in your beekeeping lemon, lemongrass, lavender, and spearmint are most commonly used.

As mentioned before, there will be a time where you will have to feed your bees yourself. Using a feeder is very beneficial because while you can make sugar syrup, put it in a bucket and leave it for the bees, it will also be open to any other creature that has a sweet appetite. With feeders, they fit right into the hive, so you can coat it with the sugar syrup and place it in the hive, and you won't have to worry about anything else eating your bees food.

If you plan on getting honey out of your hive, then you need some extracting equipment. An extractor is a machine with large, stainless-steel cylinders that hold honey frames. The frames are then spun around to create a centrifugal force that pulls the honey from the frames. The honey then drips down the walls of the extractor and into a food-grade strainer. After it passes through the strainer, the honey rests in buckets for 24 hours and then it is bottled.

If you are in an area that has a beekeeping club, you can rent these extractors, but having your own is much more convenient.

Comparison Table


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KEY FEATURES

Bee hives are the housing for bees. Honeybees can make their own hives and make them almost anywhere, but the bee hive needed for beekeeping is designed and made by humans.

Basically, this is the main foundation of beekeeping

A bee suit will cover the majority of your body excluding your hands and feet. It is an investment but an important one to protect yourself from stings and other physical contact with the bees. Protecting yourself should be a priority.

A queen marker is helpful to keep track of the queen. With bees all around it's hard to know where she is, and if you want to keep your hive, making sure the queen is on and actually in the hive is important.

AMAZON RATING

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Verdict

This may seem like a long list of beekeeping tools, but we assure you, these are the best. Some of these things come with a pretty price tag, but the joy of raising your own bees and being able to collect the fruits of your labor, or in this case the honey of your labor will be well worth it.

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