MUST-HAVE BEEKEEPING TOOLS


The type of hive you decide to get will largely determine what types of tools and accessories you will need.


Hive Tool:
It's mandatory. You must have a hive tool of some sort to perform hive inspections ad to extract honey. The hive tool resembles a pry bar and is great for prying open the hive box, scraping propolis, moving frames, and more. 

Bee Suit:





This is one of those should-have items, but it’s not 100 percent necessary. I highly advise you to buy one. But if you don’t, you must wear full-body protective clothing. It’s also a good idea to have a second one in case you need a helper.

Gloves:
Bee gloves come in heavy cloth, thick rubber, cowskin, or goatskin. You may decide not to purchase gloves; I wear them every time. I have worn the cloth and was stung through them, but a stinger has yet to get through my goatskin gloves. (Knock on wood.)

A frugal suggestion is those yellow dish gloves. Get the thickest ones you can find. They won’t protect you like bee gloves, but they are better than nothing in a pinch. 

Smoker:
A smoker is a small can with a bellows and a spout. You make a little fire in it, and use the bellows to make smoker. It’s used when inspecting the hive or extracting honey.

The smoke makes bees less active and reduces the chance of aggressive bee encounters. I do recommend a smoker for the beginner beekeeper who is not familiar with handling bees. However, I do have many beekeeping friends who do not use a smoker with their hives.
Bee Brush:
If you’ve ever seen an ice scraper for windshields that has a long brush on the end, that is what a bee brush looks like. It’s great for gently brushing the bees off a frame so you can inspect it or extract the honey. 

I think purchasing a bee brush is optional but I highly suggest you purchase one, especially because they can be bought for under $10.

Refractometer:
This is a tool used to measure the moisture level in a hive or in the honey. Excessive moisture in a beehive can kill your bees. Some beekeepers use a refractometer to measure the level of moisture in their hives. Another way to use it is to measure the moisture content in your honey.

Extractor:
An extractor is a machine used to extract honey by spinning the frames. If you want to sell honey, this is mandatory. However, you can still extract honey without a honey extractor. In fact, you can even make your own if you watch enough online videos. 

If you get friendly enough with another beekeeper who has one, they may let you borrow theirs. Since extractors are only used a couple of times a year, beekeepers are generally open to sharing. Our beekeepers association had one for its members to use for free. Another thought is to go in on the purchase with another beekeeper to reduce the expense.

Bee Feeder:
There will be a time, or times, where your bees will need to be fed. During these times you will need some type of bee feeder. Some feeders are made to go inside the hive and others go outside.

Outside feeders will probably be inaccessible to bees during bad weather and when it’s cold, so you probably want one of each. They aren’t expensive, so this is a fairly painless purchase.


Water Dish:
Bees can’t live without water. You will need to offer shallow water dishes or birdbaths for your bees. The bees need shallow dishes so they don’t drown.

It also helps to place something in them that bees can rest on, such as clean rocks. I used a birdbath and placed marbles in it—until my bees discovered they liked our natural pool better.

Frame Grip:
A frame grip is a great big pair of tongs that helps you remove the frames from your hive box. You use the frame grip with any hive that has removable frames. I’ve never had one, but I know those who have. While they are a nice addition, they are not mandatory.

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