Bee Tools

Beekeeping is not a cheap hobby. I haven’t even gotten my bees yet and I have spend a few hundred dollars on supplies. Here is a rundown of what I have purchased so far.

Nuc from Central Maryland Beekeepers Association: $165.00

10-frame hive with foundations and a top feeder: $165.00

Beekeeping suit with veil and gloves: $33.00

Beekeeping tools and smoker fuel: $54.00

Not to mention the cost of the supplies for the fence, the garden, and the other things I will need along the way.

So, what exactly are all these things for?

Nuc 

A nucleus colony is a small colony of bees. Nucs come with a mated queen and five frames full of bees in various stages of development. The CMBA said it will come with three frames of brood and two frames of honey. That’s about 10,000 bees.

Hive

I am using a langstroth hive setup, which consists of 10 frames housed inside a box. Each frame has a foundation attached to it, which the bees build their comb. I am using beeswax foundations with wire. Foundations also come in plastic. I have not received my hive yet, but it is due in the mail tomorrow! I will make a post (possibly a video!) about the components of a hive when I have a chance.

I also decided to purchase a feeder for the hive. Why? Because there aren’t enough flowers in bloom yet. Bees are just coming out of hibernation about now, and they need to eat and grow and reproduce to build strength and numbers for when the flowers do come.  The bee feeder I got goes on top of the frames, under the inner cover. It gets filled with 1:1 simple syrup an the bees eat that until there are enough flowers (usually dandelions) in the area for them to feed on, about two or three weeks.

Beekeeping Suit and Gloves

Bees are usually pretty docile unless you mess with them. And as a beekeeper, I will need to mess with them on a regular basis. This is where the beekeeper suit comes in. The suit is white because it makes bees calm. The veil is attached to the hat and zips onto the shirt, which has elastic at the waist and arm holes. This is to keep bees from flying inside the suit! The veil is to keep them away from your face, because bees are attracted to moisture and will fly directly at your mouth. The gloves are long and go over the sleeves. The pair I have are made of goat leather and will keep my hands from being stung too much. Some beekeepers work without gloves, but gloves were recommended to us n00bs until we get comfortable enough working with bees to make a decision. I think I will keep the gloves on.

Bee Tools

There are several different tools needed to manage a hive. Here are the basics.

tools

A. Smoker: Used to keep bees calm. I light a fire using wood pellets or pine needles in here and the smoke drives the bees down into the hive so there won’t be as many flying at my face.
B. (Or should I say “bee”?) Uncapping fork: Will help me pry the inner lid off the hive. Bees will often glue the inner cover on with propolis (tree sap mixed with honey).
C. Hive tool: Bee crowbar.
D. Frame grip: Lets me get a good grasp on the individual frames of hive.
E. Bee brush: Really soft brush to brush the bees off the frames.

11 days until bees! I am so excited!

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