Before I took the plunge on my beekeeping venture, I spent a couple of years researching how to care for bees, what to buy in order to properly care for bees, how to harvest honey, etc. I researched websites, watched countless hours of YouTube videos, and sought advice from seasoned beekeepers. One beekeeper told me that if you ask 50 beekeepers the same question, you will get 50 answers, and they will all be correct. In other words, you just have to do it to see what methods and tools work for you. Here are the tools I use and recommend. But don’t take my word for it, go ask 49 more beekeepers and see what they tell ya! 😉
The Backyard Beekeeper is BY FAR the best, most complete, most useful resource on beekeeping. I bought SEVERAL “how to” books, but this one is definitely the best. Most of the other “how to” books I purchased had great photographs, but that was about it. This one is a little pricier than others, but it is TOTALLY worth it!
“J” Hook Hive Tool. This handy little gem is a life saver when you are in your bee yard There are other variations of this tool, but the one with the little “J” shape at the end is what you want. When frames have been in a hive for a while, the bees will cover them with a substance called propolis that will make them very sticky. A gloved hand is unable to easily pull a frame out of the box when it is covered with this sticky substance. The “J” hook works as a pry bar to assist in lifting the sticky frame from the box.
Beekeeper’s Jacket with hood. You don’t necessarily need the fancy full-body beekeeping suits, but you do need to insure that your face is covered properly. I used to have just the hat with the veil, but I upgraded to the jacket with the hood built into it and attached by a zipper. Even the feistiest of bees cannot get into that. It is a little on the pricey side, but in my opinion, it is a solid investment, considering how disastrous it would be for a bee to find its way inside the elastic bottom of the veil in the hat/veil combo. Another little nugget for you – bees are not fond of dark colors, and have been known to be a little aggressive to me when I have worn dark colors in the bee yard.
Long gloves. Long gloves seem redundant because I put them over the top of my long sleeved jacket, but because my hands are always the closest thing to the bees, I want them doubly protected. These gloves are made from goat skin, and I have never been stung through them, even when the bees were crawling all over me.
Beehive Smoker. As awesome as Amazon.com is, I DO NOT recommend you purchase your smoker from them. You need to go to a beekeeping supply website for that purchase. Next to your protective jacket and gloves, your smoker is one of the most important tools you will use. You do not want to skimp on quality, reliability, and durability of this tool. I use a smoker from Kelley Beekeeping and can testify to its superb quality. I do not get paid from Kelley Beekeeping for this endorsement, but I am happy to share this information with you, because your smoker should be your best investment in beekeeping tools.
I hope this post has helped you decide what tools are the most important to choose when starting your beekeeping venture. Getting started is very expensive, and it is easy to get caught up in a lot of extra tools that are not really necessary, especially if you are new at this. What are your favorite beekeeping tools? What did you use most when you got started? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!
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