Beekeeping Equipment – The Top 6 Must HavesBy
Beekeeping, the practice of artificially maintaining honey bee colonies, is one of the oldest forms of food production. A beekeeper (or apiarist) keeps bees in order to collect honey and beeswax, to pollinate crops, or to produce bees for sale to other beekeepers. A location where bees are kept is called an apiary. Like in all endeavors, it requires some basic equipment before someone can establish a successful hive. This equipment should be bought and in place before you get a call from the post office asking you to come pick up bees!
The most obvious piece of equipment you will need is the actual bee hive.
Your beehive should have five supers. The supers are a very important part of the beehive because they are where the bees will be storing their honey. These five supers should be between the bottom of the hive and the hive cover. These supers are very important because they are where the bees will be storing their honey and raising their offspring. Once you have an active hive each of these supers will contain nine to ten frames. You can choose if you want a hive with shallow supers or deep supers. The advantage of deep supers is that they enable beekeepers to buy only one size foundation. The disadvantage is that, when full, a deep super can weigh one hundred pounds. Once you have a hive for your bees make sure you place is somewhere that has a flat surface so that the hive wont tip over in a strong wind. Also make sure that you place it somewhere that humans and pets aren’t likely to disturb it.
A spacer is a piece of equipment beekeepers use to keep an equal amount of space between the frames while they are in the super.
The next piece of equipment you will need is a smoker. The smoker is what you will use to encourage the bees to leave the hive when you are getting ready to harvest the honey as well as calming them. The smoker is surprisingly simple in its design. The smoker consists of a funnel, a combustion chamber, and bellows. Many beekeepers claim that old, clean burlap is the best material to use in the smoker because burlap is easy to ignite and smoulders and smokes. Other beekeepers prefer to use dried corn cobs. Once the fire has been lit in the combustion chamber the bellows will keep it going. The funnel directs the smoke into the hive, encouraging the bees to leave.
Another tool you will need is a metal hive tool. The metal hive tool is used to pry open the hive, separate the hive bodies, and to scrape the frames clean. Think of it as the all purpose tool of beekeeping.
Another essential piece of equipment is a bee brush. A bee brush is used to gently brush bees out of the way so that the beekeeper can examine the frames.
When it is time to harvest your honey, you will need a fumer board. A fumer board is a board that is covered in bee removing chemicals and is then used to encourage the bees to leave a super and let you take their honeycombs.
If you don’t mind getting using used equipment you can find some great prices on beekeeping equipment on EBay. There are several catalogs and websites that offer beekeeping equipment, and many of those offer beginners packages.