What are the 3 basics to start beekeeping? – Part 1 – Essential Beekeeping Equipment
Have you ever wondered what you need to start Beekeeping?
You only want a couple of Beehives and a bit of honey and you want to help save the Honey Bee and want pollination for your garden with fruit trees and flowers.
When you get a Beehive you want to feel confident in working it and working with your Bees – who sting !!
This is a 3 part BLOG, this is the first of the three basics to get you started.
What are the three BASIC's?
BASIC One – 7 Essential pieces of Equipment
BASIC Two – 5 Essential Beehive Components
BASIC Three – 6 Essential pieces of information for Rules and Risks
You'll need some good quality essential Beekeeper gear, Beekeeping tools, basic beehive woodware for a season and information on what you need to know about the rules and risks.
This is “BASIC One”.
This is the first BASIC – the 7 Essential beekeeping pieces of equipment – Simply put, these are what you will use to give you confidence to inspect your Beehive, keep you safe and manage your Honey Bees.
Here at kiwimana we use all these pieces of equipment regularly, we believe they will help make your beekeeping easier and are what we believe are essentials. Each item has a specific purpose to achieve the outcome for the Beekeeper to be able to manage their Beehives efficiently, doing it safely with the right tools.
…okay so what do we start with first ?
Best advice is to have gear that will make you feel confident when opening-up a hive. Simply here at kiwimana we use, leather beekeeping gloves with longer sleeves and a full-mesh-Bee suit.
Essential 1 – Gloves.
Essential 2 – Full Bee Suit.
These tools are designed so you can open up a beehive, manipulate and clean or remove wax or propolis and lift and move frames – very important job for the Beekeeper.
Essential 3 – Smoker.
Used to keep Bees calm and move them out of the way
Essential 4 – Hive Tool.
You will need a versatile and strong tool – Tasks it is used for : removing wax, removing crazy comb and propolis.
- With the right tool you should be able to move or lift or clean frames without damaging your comb.
- The tool must be sharp enough to push in-between hive box levels and then as a lever to separate the boxes…but not to cause too much damage to the boxes.
- A hook should be part of your tool, the hook helps lift the frame up so you can grab the frame easier.
- A bent end so as to put between the frames so you don't damage wax-comb.
Essential 5 – Capping-Scratcher.
This is such a great tool for inspecting cells, removing larvae. Also for scrapping along capped-honey to enable the girls to feed off the honey cells.
– It is able to be delicate enough to just remove a single cap on a cell, for checking larvae health.
– Yet, it is strong enough to remove drone larvae to check for varroa presence.
Essential 6 – Brush
You need a very soft bristled-brush which should be tapped from behind the Bees, rather than a sweeping-motion, which can damage wings. It can be used to ‘encourage' bees to move but only used softly to coax them to where you want them to go.
Essential 7 – Frameholder.
This is one of the bestus tools ever!
It saves you bending down, as it is designed for you to place your frames on, holding them freeing your hands up when inspecting your beehive.
– Traditionally beekeepers would put frames on the ground and lean them against the hive – the problem with this is you are probably walking around the beehive and busy with inspecting so it's easy to stand on them and damage them, you can lose bees too.
– It also holds the frame so you can lift the bottom of it (as the top-bar rests on the frame-holder) so you can look into the cells, so helpful as the cells are angled-upwards.
– It holds the weight of the frame so you don't have to – which can be especially heavy especially in Summer Honey production.
– From a Beekeeper-Hygiene and best practice point-of-view, the frames are held up off the ground, so the best thing is that it means you won't pick-up dirt and bring bacteria or bugs from the ground and put it in your beehive – which needs to be the cleanest place ever – so use one of these and the girls will thank you and so will your back.
Heres how it works…
By placing the frame-holder on the side of the box, you can remove the first side frame and place on the frame-holder, which gives you the ability to leave the frame out so you create a frame-space in the box.
– What this means is that you can move frames along within the hive-box as you inspect each one which means you don't remove brood frames which can be chilled by being outside.
Well folks that's the 7 Essential BASICs for the equipment you'll need to get you started.
Part Two coming out soon with BASICS TWO – 5 Essential Beehive components to get you through a ‘Bee Season'.
Thanks for reading, we appreciate your time, and thanks for beeing part of the …kiwimana buzz…
She loves New Zealand native flora and fauna, her fav is the Kowhai...with Manuka honey close second ; )
Some of you may know that Margaret is a qualified Life Coach, she trained through the Coaching Academy in London and holds DipPC.Adv.