Equipment you really do need when starting out.

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Queen Bee
Mar 4, 2009
Reaction score
Gorleston-on-sea, Norfolk
Hive Type
Number of Hives
3 Commercial hives with National supers, Top Bee Space. + 2 Nucs
This has been my first year with bees, and before I started I thought I had all neccessary equipment to hand. BUT........... No-one mentioned the other stuff you might need, such as a cardboard box to collect swarms, a white sheet for hiving, a couple of plastic crates for de-capping, a handy bit of wood for resting across said crate whilst de-capping frames, a handy tray for transporting supers in, etc etc,
what other gadgets do folk use that ain't in the usual list of esentials for newbies??:confused:
Right seriously now.....

Blocks of wood, 2 sizes - extra entrance blocking and hole in crownboard blocking.
Spray bottle with sugar syrup solution
Drawing pins - marking frames with q cells
Ray Mears - to relight the smoker :)
Cut off white sports socks to stop my wrists getting stung (mine are sods for that)
Notepad and pencil to make constant notes reminding of what needs to be done and what has been done

That'll do for now

Frisbee is on the right track, but what do you call 'extra' as opposed to essential?

What do you consider essential even?

Just think in advance for your needs. Always consider a back-up option if main plan cannot be implemented for any reason.

So here goes for a few more. Feeders, honey extraction kit, wax melting and frame cleaning equipment, pH meter, refractometer, sundry gas torches for scorching and lighting smoker, nucleus hives, nail gun (or equivalent), syringes, decent weighing scales, ratchet straps.

Lots one can beg, borrow but hopefully not steal. Most of my 'gadgets' have been second hand, picked up at auctions, often nothing to do with bees.

It rather dpends on how deeply you read up on the subject before starting. Most new starters don't realise they will need kit for approx twice the number of colonies they have.

Regards, RAB
Bathroom tiles to block crown board holes.
A 'pencil' (lighter gas fuelled) bunsen burner to light my smoker - easy peasy.
Supers or brood bodies.

A super could be eked for a brood and brood frames could be used for honey.

No real problem until lifting the 'super' supers full of honey or spinning the honey (get out those tangential screens again).

Good way to get a few extra drawn brood combs to give a split/nuc/swarm a head start, as super frames are usually drawn quickly in a flow but brood are wanted at awkward times, invariably.

Regards, RAB
re. tools etc

My beekepeing box (an old argentinian corned beef box) contains :

2 x hive tools (in case I leave one somewhere...happens regularly)
1 x old screwdriver - I find this better ar separateing frames
1 x stanley knife
1 x scissors (for clipping queens)
5 x marking pens, each colour
container of metal/plastic ends
matches & lighter
rolled cardboard for smoker x 3 at least
a few queen introduction cages
press on queen cage
manipulating cloths (made from old terry nappies)
mouse guards
hive straps
pot of drawing pins for marking cages
water spray gun
hive record book

a few dead bees

at least 1 spare hive and supers, frames & foundation
home made warming cabinet
snelgrove board
clearing boards
spare queen excluder

various books for winter (an emergency) reading

and lots of crossed fingers !
And I just got a second grant through :cheers2:- wonderful Co-op= gave us £1000. We will have a good out apiary at last = lots of teaching, equipment, just roll on Spring. I have itchy fingers!!!

Equipment - only 2 hive tools? Wow- I need 4 as always losing- but I do have a fine paintbrush for queen grafting - better than any grafting tool - gentle and they remove well back into the new cell.
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I keep hive tools, uncapping fork and other sundry s/steel tols that come into contact with inside of hive in a bucket of washing soda solution for disease control,(cleans wax, propolis etc beautifully, tools must be stainless or plastic though.
Also use diposable gloves (Marigold from Mc Cormick tools)
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Sigh! I know - I must be more disciplined- have a bucket nearby- but far enough I dont kick it over - go to find hive tool just put down - GONE

Dont know about other people, but when in a bee suit- I am more clumsy as peripheral vision is limited - must be practising for apparent UK conversion to Islam
Sigh! I know - I must be more disciplined- have a bucket nearby- but far enough I dont kick it over - go to find hive tool just put down - GONE

Dont know about other people, but when in a bee suit- I am more clumsy as peripheral vision is limited - must be practising for apparent UK conversion to Islam

I reckon bee keepers would make good astronauts if the need ever arose due to a shortage, say if an asteroid was destined to hit. Like Armegeddon but with beeks. Could provide honey rations for the journey too:hurray:
Heather, if you make a point of only ever putting a hive tool down on a roof, the habit will mean that the number of places you will have to search to find it will be exceedingly limited, even as your colony count grows.

If you only have one or two apiaries then a Tuppeware type box, with a lid, containing a strong washing soda solution with a squirt of washing up liquid could be stored under a hive stand/pallet.

Always assuming that the apiary is sufficiently secure and that it would be without risk to others of course. Such decadence, site specific hive-tools. :) And no splash accidents in your vehicle.

It's certainly a lot easier than having to scour the grass, allthough with 8 potential roofs (not counting the open hive), you will still be amazed how it can manage to hide behind a brick on the roof.

Brick language - hive tool behind brick = I'm hiding from Heather. :grouphug:

What with Ely's suggestion, could that be a flag on the moon or a moon (crescent) on the flag. Or is mooning whilst in a bee suit just not a wise thing to consider perhaps.
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House bricks are always useful - especially on the top of mini-nucs!
And one old marge or larger tub with sealable top to put all the old bits of wax, propolis and scraped or burr comb in. Essential for good apairy hygene.
A bucket, a long screw and 8 metres of 2 x 2 timber for catching swarms high up.
Nuc Boxes... you can solve many a problem with a nuc box or two 9 including standing on them to reach a swarm !)

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