Bees are one of the most crucial species in the world, yet their numbers are decreasing at an alarming rate. They are the main contributors to the pollination of many plants and crops. A study shows that one third of our consumption relies on their rates of pollination.
Bees make honey, one of the most valuable food products in the world. Bees pollinate various flowers and collect nectar. Through various processes, they produce honey and store it in their honeycomb structures.
These wax structures are located in their beehives. Honey comes from both wild and domestic hives since the mass consumption doesn’t let suppliers rely only on the wild sources to fulfill public demand.
Besides that, production of many crops, fruits and vegetables relies on bee pollination. Firstly though, you must have proper knowledge regarding the equipment that comes with it.
In case you are wondering what equipment goes into beekeeping, this is the right place for you. Here is a list of beekeeping equipment you will need but keep in mind that these tools vary with the size of your operation and the kind of honey you intend to produce.
Without further ado, let’s begin.
A beehive is a box-like enclosed structure in which bees live. The structure can be vertical or horizontal. The three common types of beehives are: the Langstroth, the Top Bar and the Warre hive.
This is a crucial part of beekeeping, as you’ll need to decide which one to buy. Now, each one has its own merits and drawbacks. Purchasing a Langstroth hive is a good option for a beginner as it is easier to find a mentor for it.
On the other hand, the Top Bar serves as the better option if you have trouble lifting heavy weight. You can buy a hive stand to elevate the bottom board of the hive. Keep in mind though that it gets very hot inside the hives during summer.
To keep the insides cool, you can paint the outer parts with a light color. The paint will also enhance its durability.
Frames are rectangular structures that hold the honeycomb within the beehive. It is an important part as the bees build their comb inside these frames and make honey.
You can remove it when you inspect the bees or collect honey. Each frame consists of three parts: A top bar, two side bars, and a bottom bar. The depth of the bar should be decided in accordance with the depth of the box.
You may buy plastic foundations along with the frame as this option reduces work for the bees when they are making honey. Foundations also enhance its strength and durability. Other popular frames are Queen Rearing frames and Drone Trap frames.
A bee smoker is an invaluable tool when it comes to keeping the honeybees calm. You may use various types of fuels in a smoker.
The smoke will keep the bees away as well as keep you safe from getting stung. A heat shield comes with the smoker to protect your clothes from getting burnt. Liquid smoke is also available, to spray towards the hive.
4. Hive Tool
Honeybees line their hives with propolis to hold everything together. The stickiness makes it difficult to separate the hive bodies.
A hive tool is a metal bar that detaches the frames of the hive and scrapes away wax and propolis. This tool is also used for maintaining and inspecting hives, making it an essential multipurpose tool.
5. Protective Clothing
A bee suit, gloves and shoes are essential for protection while collecting honey. There are different types of bee suits based on their wide price range. Beginners may choose to go for a cheap veil but it is to be noted that the higher qualities ones provide better protection.
Gloves and shoes made of sturdy material make it easier to dig through a beehive. As a beginner, you must wear these at all times in order to avoid getting stung by bees.
Feeders are important when the bees need help with supplementing their food supply. The first thing to do is mix some water and sugar.
Then, you need to put the mixture in a feeder (entrance feeder or a hive top feeder is easily available for purchase). These feeders are kept in the hive to bar other insects from robbing the syrup.
7. Essential Oils
Essential oils work as double measure as they drive away beetles while also attracting bees. Moreover, essential oils are important as they support healthy and thriving bees and hives.
Many refreshing scents are available as oils, such as lemon, lemongrass, lavender and etc.
8. Queen Marker
As a beginner, you may find it hard to spot the queen bee at times. This makes the queen marker a useful tool. Marking her hindquarters with a bright marker makes it easy to find the queen.
9. Queen Catcher
A queen catcher separates the queen bee from her peers for some time. It is a handy tool that makes sure you don’t lose the queen while going through the hives. Also, it can be used to catch a swarm.
10. Queen Excluder
A queen excluder is the equipment used to confine the queen as well as for purposes of brood rearing and pollen storage. It is a thin sheet of metal or plastic with openings big enough for the worker bees to pass through.
The excluder is useful in keeping track of the queen bee. Additionally, it comes handy when moving the bees to a new location.
Make sure you have enough time to assemble all the equipment before the bees arrive. For beginners, it’s better to receive help from experienced beekeepers initially in order to avoid any hassle.
Some may opt for buying secondhand equipment to save money but it is to be noted that if an equipment is contaminated, many problems may arise.
Now that you have a basic concept about the essential beekeeping equipment and their usage, you are ready to start on your own adventures of beekeeping.