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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.

Protection

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

Tools

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.

Accessories

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.

 

News & Events

The selfish case for saving bees: it’s how to save ourselves
These crucial pollinators keep our world alive. Yes, they are under threat – but all is not lost.  Click here to read the article.
Outbreak of EFB reported
An outbreak of EFB has been reported by one of our members about ‘5km east of Hawkchurch’. If you live in the area and are not yet on BeeBase we would recommend you go to the BeeBase website as soon as possible to register. This will ensure you are informed of any threats in your area.
World’s largest bumblebee under threat.
The Patagonian bumblebee, the worlds largest bumblebee, is under threat from the import of species native to Europe.The growth of the bumblebee trade for agricultural pollination since the 1980s has been identified as one of the top emerging environmental issues likely to affect global diversity.Follow this link to read the article.
Best plants for bees: 5 yr study results by RosyBee
Follow the link to see the results of 5 years of monitoring which bees visit a variety of ‘bee-friendly’ plants.
http://www.rosybee.com/research
What’s that Buzz? Plants hear when bees are coming
New research has shown that plants can ‘hear’ sounds around them and flowers respond to the buzz of approaching bees by producing sweeter nectar. The research biologists from Tel Aviv University played recordings of flying bee sounds to evening primrose flowers and found that after a few minutes the sugar concentration in the flower’s nectar had increased by 20% on average when compared with flowers left in silence or submitted to higher pitched sounds.
The authors of the report say that, for the first time, they have shown plants can rapidly respond to pollinator sounds in an ecologically relevant way.
Producing sweeter nectar in response to the sounds of bees can help entice the insects to visit the flowers and increase the chances of its pollen being distributed.
Thanks to Ann P. for spotting this article in the Times.
Scientists sew trackers to Asian Hornets to find and destroy nests before they kill honeybees
Britain’s beekeepers are turning to technology to prevent aggressive Asian hornets destroying their colonies. In a first successful trial, experts at the University of Exeter attached tracking devices to the backs of the voracious hornets and then followed them back to their nests.