Monday, July 1, 2019

Three Tools of a Beekeeper

As beekeepers, we have three very important tools that make working our bees easier: the veil/suit, the smoker and the hive tool. When all the tools are used properly, you can work your bees and can do so without being stung. 

Before doing any job you always want to have the proper safety gear. In beekeeping, you always want to protect your face from being stung. With the veil, your entire head is covered and safe. Some beekeepers choose to have a full suit that covers their entire body so they are covered from head to toe. The veil is attached and only the hands and feet are exposed. This suit can come in a variety of materials such as nylon or cotton and can be a little heavy, but it’s great at protecting beekeepers from bee stings. There are also special gloves made of leather or thicker material that protect a beekeeper's hands. 

Beekeepers use a smoker to calm down the bees when they open the hive. A fire is started in the can using wood chips, leaves or sticks. Then, you pump the bellows to force smoke from the spout. The smoke masks the bees alarm pheromones and could simulate a fire response for them--filling their stomachs with honey to prepare to leave their "burning" home.

The hive tool is a mostly flat scraper made of steel. Beekeepers use the hive tool to separate the hive boxes and honey supers, loosen frames and scrape propolis and beeswax from boxes and frames. Honeybees secure their hive with these sticky substances and it would be very difficult to open the hive without your trusty hive tool.