Beekeeping Equipment and Supplies | Buzz Beekeeping Supplies

Beekeeping Equipment and Supplies

5 Best Gifts For Beekeepers On Valentine’s Day

On Valentine’s day we show our love to our special someone. We make this day special for them as a token of the love we have committed ourselves into.  On this very day the usual thing to do is treat our loved ones to a fancy dinner, give gifts, or take them to outings that they have always wanted but don’t have time to.

Like everyone else, a beekeeper deserves a treat on valentine’s day.

Dinner for Two

diner-beekeepers

Treat your special beekeeper to a fancy dinner out or even in your own home as long as it depicts your true intentions of love and loyalty. Give her the expected box of chocolates and bouquet of long stemmed red roses.

Beekeeping Suit

Beekeeping Suit

One of the best gift you can give is the beekeeping suit.  This suit is necessary to protect your beekeeper during inspection of the bees.  It allows safe movement around the bee hive and serves as protection against possible stings.  And of course, such beekeeping suit should be comfortable and can provide the necessary durability and usefulness.

Beekeeping Jackets

Beekeeping Jacket

Another useful gift for a beekeeper is a beekeeping jacket. It is best used for quick errand to the bee hive. It is comfortable and helps protect the upper body and head. It is easy to put on and is cooler than the full beekeeping suit. You can wear it with loose fitting pants.

Beekeeping Gloves

Beekeeping Gloves

Beekeeping Gloves is part of a beekeeping protective clothing.  It should be supple and soft to make it easier to use.  The best gloves are those comfortable ones with elastic cuff to ensure that no bees can get in. It must be sting proof and has long ventilated sleeves.

Beekeeping Journal

Beekeeping-Journal

A beekeeping journal is also a good option as valentine’s gift. It is where beekeepers store their notes, entries, daily beekeeping observations and records.  It is a necessity for it provides information and useful beekeeping tips.

It is also best to advise your beekeeper date or spouse to be calm when entering the bee hive. Bees only sting when they feel that their hive is being invaded. Bees can sense tension that is why it is sensible to wear comfortable, dependable beekeeping suits and other beekeeping gears. Bee protective clothing will help you remain calm and give you a sense of peace.

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Beekeepers Suit

When people think of bee stings, what usually comes to the mind is the pain, itch and swell up. To avoid bee stings, beekeepers and professionals who remove beehives from houses should always have protective clothing on.

This involves the use of gloves, a helmet, veil and a beekeepers suit. Beekeepers suits are full length jumpsuits worn by keepers when tending to the bee hives.

The suits are usually made out of smooth materials and are white in color. This is because bees tend to avoid white or bright colors.

However, they attack black or dark colors as a way of protecting their hives against black bears.

When choosing a beekeepers suit, it is always important to put the weather conditions into serious consideration. For instance, during the hot summer, it is advisable to choose a fabric that is cool such as polyester.

Additionally, choose a larger size because you are wearing the suit over regular clothes.

Always ensure that the suit you purchase is of high quality because at times, the bee sting might penetrate through the fabric.

The shirt should be long sleeved with a smooth finish for maximum protection. The material used to make the beekeepers suit should not be textured or of animal origin such as fur, wool or feathers.

This is because they may still have the animal odor which may provoke the bees to act in a defensive and aggressive manner.

The bottom of your pants should be tucked inside the boots in order to prevent the bees from crawling up your legs.

There is other beekeeping equipment that every beekeeper should have. This includes gloves, veil, helmet, and boots.

The veil is important clothing that protects the face from stings. The helmet on the other hand is used to keep the veil away from the face.

However, it is important to note that, there are veils that can be worn without helmets such as the Alexander-type veil.

High quality leather or canvas gloves should be worn since most of the beekeeping task will involve the use of hands. Some beekeeping gloves are ventilated for comfort.

In order for any beekeeping project to be successful, it is important to have the necessary beekeeping equipment and supplies in addition to the protective clothing.

This equipment and supplies include a hive; hive tool, bee brush, and a smoker. The hives are used to manage honeybees.

Modern hives have been designed to allow inspection and removal of honey more efficient and effective.

The hive tool can be considered as the most important equipment to have when dealing with beekeeping.

The hive tool makes inspection of colonies possible as well as cleaning the hives. The smoker is used to puff smoke to the hive and this makes the bees to be gentle and gorge on honey.

A bee brush is used to move bees from places they shouldn’t be such as the frames.

It is important to always ensure that the beekeepers suit, equipment and supplies you wish to purchase are of high quality.

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Langstroth Hive

Langstroth, Top-Bar or Warre?: Choose the Right Hive for You and Your Bees – Mother Earth News

Mother Earth NewsLangstroth, Top-Bar or Warre?: Choose the Right Hive for You and Your BeesMother Earth News

If you’re interested in beekeeping but are debating which type of hive to choose or if you’re already a beekeeper and are Langstroth Hivewondering about different types of hives then read on.  Here I’ll talk briefly about the three different types of hives I use and discuss some basic pros and cons.  Let’s start with the the best known and most popular.

Pros and Cons of the Langstroth Beehive

So, chances are if you’ve ever driven by a house or piece of land and seen beehives, you were looking at a langstroth hive. These are the standard hives used in the United States and most developed countries.  Imagine a wooden rectangle with wood frames that slide in vertically and rest in place on a top lip like a file folder.  Inside the frame is a thin layer of wax foundation printed with a hexagonal pattern that the bees will use to draw out their comb.  There is a removable top cover, a bottom board upon which the hive rests and a narrow entrance or slit between the bottom board and the hive body from which the bees come and go.  To add room for an expanding colony or for honey stores you add a super (basically another hive body, frames and all but shorter in height) directly on top of the hive body, then replace the cover on top of the super.

What is a Langstroth hive and what are the advantages and disadvantages?

Some progress on my long Langstroth hive. I’ll be screening the bottom and having multiple inner covers…

Some progress on my long Langstroth hive. I’ll be screening the bottom and having multiple inner covers on top of the frames, as well as a hinged lid. I’ll also have a frame holder built on to one side, one that’s big enough to hold a couple of frames at least.

The Secret to the Modern Beehive is a One-Centimeter Air Gap – Smithsonian

Smithsonian

Langstroth HivesIn 1851, Reverend Lorenzo Lorraine Langstroth invented a better beehive and changed beekeeping forever. The Langstroth Hive didn’t spring fully formed from one man’s imagination, but was built on a foundation of methods and designs developed over millenia.

Beekeeping dates back at least to ancient Egypt, when early apiarists built their hives from straw and clay (if you happen to find a honeypot in a tomb, feel free to stick your hand in it, you rascal, because honey lasts longer than a mummy). In the intervening centuries, various types of artificial hives developed, from straw baskets to wood boxes but they all shared one thing: “fixed combs” that must be physically cut from the hive. These early fixed comb hives made it difficult for beekeepers to inspect their brood for diseases or other problems.

In the 18th century, noted Swiss naturalist François Huber developed a “movable comb” or “movable frame” hive that featured wooded leaves filled with honeycombs that could be flipped like the pages of a book. Despite this innovation, Huber’s hive was not widely adopted and simple box hives remained the popular choice for beekeepers until the 1850s. Enter Lorenzo Langstroth.

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Honey Extractor

Looking at purchasing the best honey extractor?

honey extractorsSince I recently upgraded mine, I thought I’d share some thoughts.

Investment

Even though you only use your extractor once a year (for most of us), it’s a large initial investment and you want to make the right decision.

Prices range from under two hundred dollars to over a thousand dollars. There are many good honey extractors available for a reasonable cost.

Here are some features to consider when purchasing a honey extractor.

Manual or Electric

All honey extractors work through the use of centrifugal force. There are two types, manual and electric.

Manual Extractors

manual honey extractorMost experienced beekeepers advise new beekeepers to start with a manual honey extractor and then trade up later on. Manual extractors have been around for over one hundred years.

Many new beekeepers start with only one to three hives, so a manual extractor will do just fine.

Years ago, I bought a used 2 frame manual extractor at a yard sale from an Amish gentleman. The extractor used a bicycle chain on the gears.

The biggest difficulty was that the top gear drive had to be removed to place and remove the frames. It made the process very time-consuming.

The biggest challenge with a manual extractor is that your arms will get tired from turning the handle and with most extractors, you will have to spend 10 minutes turning the handle and the turn the frames around for another 10 minutes.

The benefit to using a manual extractor is that you don’t need electricity to operate it. Of course, if you’re outside trying to extract honey, you will attract a lot of bees.

So, my advice to newbie’s is to pick a model where it is easy to turn the crank.

Electric Extractors

electric honey extractor There a quiet a few manufactures of electric honey extractors. Many advertised on the Internet seem to be made in China and appear to be the same model, under different brand names.

Electric extractors cost two to four times as much as a manual one.  A high-quality electric extractor can be a significant expense for a beekeeping hobbyist.

The motors are usually single speed or variable speed options. Motors are rated by watts, usually 110 or 120 watts. Some manufacturers will list the rpm (revolutions per minute) of the motor (such as 1300 rpm).

If you’re going to shell out the bucks for an electric extractor, you should get a variable speed motor. The reason for this is that if the motor spins too fast it could damage the wax combs. A variable speed motor will allow you to adjust the spin speed.

The benefit to an electric extractor is that it is easier to operate than a manual one. You just flip the switch and watch it spin, without any manual labor.

Another benefit is that electric models are much faster than manual models and will save you hours of time and effort.

How Many Frames?

Commercial honey extractors can hold more than one hundred frames. The smallest and most economical honey extractors hold 2 frames.

Most hobby beekeepers find a 2 frame to 6-frame model adequate for their needs. Once you go past the 6-frame extractor size the prices get real expensive.

Drum

The drum size and composition is an important consideration when choosing an extractor to buy.

Metal or Plastic Drum?

Hands down, go for metal. If you buy a plastic model, you’ll be upgrading it to metal the next year. My first extractor was made of honey extractorheavy duty plastic and it still warped.

The best choice is of material is food grade stainless steel. Some are made from 16 or 26-gauge steel and others from “food grade #304 stainless steel” which is a common grade of stainless steel used for food preparation.

Many of the better models have a cone-shaped bottom, to allow better draining of the honey.

Legs or Stand

No matter whether the model has legs or a stand, the height should be tall enough to fit a 5-gallon bucket. This means the honey gate should be at least 15 inches above the ground.

Many models, such as the 2nd one I purchased did not allow a 5-gallon bucket underneath.

Also, models with legs tend not to be as sturdy as those resting on stands. My last model with legs constantly vibrated and tended to move around. We finally had to resort to holding it, to keep it in place.

Hint: put a towel underneath, so it doesn’t scratch the floor in case it vibrates or moves.

Baskets

There are two types of baskets, tangential or radial. Tangential baskets need to be turned, because they have one side of the comb facing outward. Radial baskets do not need to be turned, because they have the top bar of the frame facing outwards.3 frame honey extractor

Radial baskets typically cost more, and are mostly used by large corporate honey producers.

Tangential baskets are used by most backyard and small hobby beekeepers, since most 2 – 6 frame honey extractors have tangential baskets.

The image on the right shows a 3-frame basket, without the motor.

The baskets should fit the three most common sizes, Shallow, Medium and Deep frames.

The design of the baskets should be such that the frames can easily be removed, without removing the top gears or motor.

honey gateHoney Gate

Also called a honey gate valve, this allows the honey to flow out of the extractor.

They are usually sized from 1.25” to 2” is diameter and are made of either food grade plastic or metal, with plastic being the most common.

A honey gate should have a gasket or O-Ring supplied, to prevent leaking.

The model I received did not include an O-Ring and there was a visible gap between the drum and where the honey gate fit. I had to take a last-minute trip to Home Depot to pick one up.

honey bee extractorsCoupling & Gears

The coupling and gears are critical to the operation of the extractor.

The gears must “couple” correctly to provide a proper spin for your extractor. If the gears are not coupled correctly the shaft will wobble and cause a lot of vibration.

The parts are typically made of steel, aluminum or heavy-duty plastic. Steel gears are best.

As you can see from the image, aluminum gears can crack.

After mine cracked, I had to place a rubber hose clamp on it to hold it together, to finish my honey extracting.

Lids

Clear plexiglass lids are a nice option for monitoring your progress. They also keep stray drops of honey from flying out of your extractor. The first time we used an extractor without a lid we were covered in honey, from the waist up.

Assembly and Instructions

Many models require some type of assembly. Typically, this includes the legs, honey gate, top gears or motor and coupling the motor to the cage assembly.

One of the biggest complaints I read about is the lack of instructions. My latest purchase did not include them, but the assembly was easy. This seems to be a problem from most of the units that are Chinese-made.

Another issue includes parts that are covered in oil. They must be cleaned thoroughly before you can assemble your extractor.

honey bee extractorCleaning

The extractor should be easy to dissemble and clean. When you are finished extracting, your bees will do much of your clean-up work. Soap and water should do the rest.

Warranty or Guarantee

When you buy a new extractor you should receive a warranty or guarantee. Some only have a 30-day guarantee while other have a Lifetime Warranty. Obviously, the better manufacturers stand by their equipment and offer better warranties.

Conclusion

Harvesting your honey is one of the most enjoyable parts of beekeeping. Tasting and eating your honey is another part.

A honey extractor is a critical part of your honey extraction process and you want a durable machine to make your experience hassle-free, no matter whether you have one or one hundred hives.

Good luck on choosing the right machine for your needs.

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Slideshow

This jacket was recommended to me by a bee exterminator for handling bee and wasp issues as they arose. I have not needed to use the jacket in battle yet but did try it on to make sure it fit and did not leave any areas exposed. I was pleasantly surprised by how well made it felt. Lots of pockets too.

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Customer Feedback

Very nice gloves.

Suit fits wonderfully. Delivery was prompt. Will buy from this vendor again.

Item received promptly and just as described. Very happy with purchase. Good quality. Fits nicely and material is good fabric.