Saturday, August 9, 2014

Beekeeping Equipment and Gadgets

We have been planning and preparing for the next phase in our beekeeping adventure once the bees looked like they were happy in their new hive.

The bees have been busy going in and out of the hive non stop throughout the day.  The way they drop down and land on the little ledge at the opening of their hive reminds me of a very busy airport.  No mid air collisions but a lot of organized landing and taking off.

First things first.  A beekeeper cannot do anything without a coat/hood.  Since my husband will do all the beekeeping due to my bee sting allergy, I asked him which style of coat did he preferred. There is the traditional style coat with a separate hat and attached veil.  Then there is the style that our beekeeper sported when he helped us with our swarm.  The coat is more like a cross between a hoodie and a fencing outfit minus the pants and sword.  But truth be known....if my husband could figure out a way to buy a sword he would do it in a heartbeat...LOL

The coat is cotton so it breathes and is easily laundered.  Most of your beekeeping duties will be in the warmer months so it is a lot more comfortable if you are not about ready to pass out from the heat.  When you order the coat you will order your normal size. The coat will be slightly over sized for air flow and to allow you to add a sweatshirt in the spring and fall.

The hood zips on and off but we left it attached but slightly unzipped on each side and just slipped it over his head and then slipped his arms into the sleeves.

At the cuff is an elastic loop that you slip your thumb through.  This is to keep your sleeves from bunching up when you pull your long gloves on.  The gloves have a cotton sleeve or gauntlet and thin leather attached gloves.  The thin leather allows for added dexterity when working with the hive and bees.  The attached sleeves gives another layer of protection but also adds to the warmth factor so you can see how it is important to wear just a cotton T shirt in the summer.

My husband said he was very comfortable in the coat and was surprised at how his vision wasn't hindered at all.  He did say that his nose itched and realized that there is absolutely nothing he could do about it.  I had t laugh but you know that had to be aggravating.

I purchased his coat off of eBay.  Prices were all over the place for the very same coat so compare prices before pulling the trigger.  His coat cost $59.00 and included the gloves and free shipping.

Next on the list was a smoker.  Here again I purchased off of eBay.  I soon realized that the best value was to purchase a package which included the smoker, brush, hive tool, and uncapping fork for $46.99 with free shipping.

The smoker is used to calm the bees when working the hive.  R will need to consult the beekeeper on how to fire it up.  The smoker comes with a little hook to hang from your belt.  Can't say I would be comfortable with a hot can on my belt but to each his own.

The hive tool looks like a Wonder Bar that is used for prying baseboard off the wall.  This tool is used for prying hive covers and supers apart from one another.  I understand that the bees seal everything so that there are no drafts.  I wish I could hire them to make my old house draft free.

The uncapping fork pokes holes in each individual cell in the comb so the honey can be extracted. I also purchased another tool for this purpose, too.

The last tool in this kit was a brush that is used to brush bees off of the frames, etc.  The bristles are very soft so that they do not hurt the bees.

The last tool that I purchased was a serrated honeycomb uncapping knife.  The knife is used to cut off the top layer of wax to expose all the individual cells so that the honey can be extracted.  This tool is probably more efficient than the fork but I can see using the fork to get any missed cells.   Of course it is up to the beekeeper to use whatever method he feels works the best for him.  But I'm betting it is faster using the knife.  The knife was $15.27 with free shipping.

R said the beekeeper also had several heavy duty putty knifes but we can get those at the hardware store.  I think I'll also purchase a plastic container to hold all the equipment and keep it all in one place. I'm sure there are more gadgets but we'll buy as we go and as we become more knowledgeable about this beekeeping.

We will see our beekeeper next week so if anyone has any questions that they want us to ask just let me know and I will add it to the questions that I already have on my list.

If you are new to our blog and want to follow our beekeeping adventure from the start you can read HERE, HERE, and HERE to catch up.