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Kit List

Peter’s Kit List

Peter Field, our former Secretary, started beekeeping a few years ago and has compiled a kit list, as he says, by ‘trial and lots of error’, that other beginners may find useful. Explanations and alternatives are given in some instances and the list is by no means exhaustive. Like most things in beekeeping the list is a starting point for discussion and adaptation to suit your own way of doing things.


Full suit – as bees get under the elastic on smocks. Zip pocket for phone and car keys! Wellington boots.


Kit list, hive tool   J-hive tool – multifunctional and keeps fingers out of stingers way. Grinding the sharp end to a longer taper does less damage to bee boxes.

Large smoker (4” diam) with separate internal canister (baked bean tin with holes in the base?) – easier to keep alight.Kit list, smoker

Rubberised gloves with canvas gauntlet. Cheap and washable, almost sting proof to give confidence, but useless for fiddly work. Progress to washing up gloves when more confident.

Plastic Queen clip or cage – To catch the Queen and aid splitting and marking. A match box will do.

Water spray bottle – for when they get really feisty. Also useful to control a swarm.

Bee brush or bunch of goose feathers.

Magnifying glass (or visit to optician!) – to see the eggs.

Fine pointed tweezers – to extract dodgy looking brood for inspection.

Hives & stands

Kit list, National hiveNational hives – very widely available and can grow into 14” x 12” if required. Ekes very useful too when feeding/varroa treatment etc.

Flat roofs – turn upside down to rest supers on.

Plywood brood boxes, cedar supers and ply tops. Woodpecker proof and cheap for the over wintered parts. (Note: is anything woodpecker proof?  Ply is more dense than cedar and may produce more condensation on the inside.)

Hive clips to attach floor to brood box.- oh the times they came apart when I didn’t want them to.

Manley super frames and Hoffman brood frames. Self spacers reduce risk of losing the plastic end bits. Hoffman frames can be easily extended (Burnett extension pack, from Thorne) to make 14” x 12”.

Spare floor to swap when cleaning your other one.

Pallet (sawn in half) and bricks/blocks for hive stand. Cheaper and allows hive parts to be placed next to hive.

Swarm kit

Cardboard box with lid for swarm collection. Cheaper than skeps and just as good.

Kit list, sheet for hiving swarmsOld white sheet  -for swarm collection and hiving of swarms.


Tool tray to carry bits to apiary. An old rucksack is useful if you need to be hands-free.

Thorne’s plastic feeder box with lid. Large, flat. Can refill without opening the hive. Bees do not drown. Less spillage and cheap.

Blow torch with piezzo igniter. Saves fiddly matches which blow out.

Foam strips for temporary entrance blocks. I always carry a spare. Helps to deter robbing.

Hive ratchet straps for hive moving – 2 per hive essential – I have had several slip and had a car full of bees.

Antihistamine cream for stings!

Washing Soda Crystals for cleaning your gloves, hive tool, etc. Make a 20% solution. Caution – alkaline.  Wear appropriate protective equipment.

Newspaper, egg boxes and wood shavings for the smoker.

2 x tea towels for a manipulation cloth. Must be easily washable.

Drawing pins to mark the frame / attach mouse guards.

Metal one piece mouse guards – cheap and less fiddly.

Heavy plastic sheet for floor of car boot.


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News & Events

Nosema Testing at Hunthay Apiary
Please note that on Thursday 12th April between 1000 & 1230 there will be an opportunity for you to test your bees for Nosema.
Members should bring samples (c.30 bees) from each hive.
Calling Notice for the rescheduled Devon Beekeepers’ Association Annual General Meeting
Download details: DBKA Calling Notice 2018
Please note that the Raffle Draw for the cedar wood hive donated by National Bee Supplies will take place on 7th April, so still time to buy tickets if you wish.
BBKA documents fyi
Spring Convention
Note: Now rescheduled for April 7th at Meldon Village Hall
Devon Beekeepers Day Raffle Prize!
Dear Member,
You will recall I gave details of the Devon Beekeepers Day in your February Buzz. We now have the raffle tickets available for the National hive kindly being donated by National Bee Supplies. Tickets can only be purchased by members and are priced at £2 each. See your emails for details of how to purchase raffle tickets.Proceeds from the raffle go to the Presidents Fund which in turn helps to support bee related projects throughout the county.The beekeepers day on March 3rd promises to be an interesting event (your February Beekeeping magazine has all the details) – so come along if you can. Regards, Val

Gove – UK will back total ban on bee harming pesticides Click link to see details

Asian Hornet in North Devon
The National Bee Unit has confirmed a sighting of the Asian hornet in North Devon which was spotted by a beekeeper in their apiary on the 18th September 2017. The contingency response has been initiated and a press release has been issued by Defra.