Jan 292020
Beekeeping Equipment – What You Need To Have

Beekeeping equipment. The beekeeping is the activity dedicated to the breeding of bees and gives them the necessary care.

The purpose is to obtain and consume products that can develop and collect.

The main product, which is obtained from this process is honey. Honey is a beneficial factor for humans.

 

Inhabitants of a Beehive

Bees are sociable insects that always live grouped in the hive. In a beehive, there are three types of bees: the queen bee, worker bee, and drone bee.

The queen bee has the function of laying eggs from which the rest of the hive inhabitants leave, it is larger than the worker bee, a longer abdomen and with shorter wings.

Another of its functions is to secrete a pheromone that holds together all the inhabitants of the hive. The production of this pheromone will decrease with the age of the bee, ceasing around four years.

Once the egg has hatched, the larva will be fed throughout its cycle with royal jelly prepared by worker bees.

The egg from which the queen starts is placed in a cell that the worker bees transform to give it an adequate shape and size.

Worker bees have a large number of troops in the hive (20,000-60,000). Once the larva leaves the egg, they will only receive royal jelly for two and a half days and then it will be fed by a mass of honey, pollen, and water.

Drones are born from an unfertilized egg laid by the queen (parthenogenesis). They require twenty-four days to reach adult status, going through three phases: egg (three days), larva (five and a half days) and nymph (fifteen and a half days).

 

Beekeeping Equipment

In beekeeping, there is a wide range of equipment used. I will discuss it here one by one. Continue reading!

Beekeeper Costume

In the history of modern beekeeping has not varied much. There are integer-type romper and half suits where we find the diver’s pants separated.

It is a protective suit, and therefore the main characteristics of the fabrics used are that they are thick. They are generally white.

Currently, ventilation windows are left in various areas of the chest and back, through double plastic fabrics. They are white because this color soothes bees.

Mask

The head and face of the beekeeper are protected by a mask in whose anterior part there is usually mosquito net, which can be of different materials: metallic, polyester, plastic, etc.

The purpose is the protection and separation of the face from the bees. They are usually armed with hats or not, depending on the manufacturer’s design.

Currently, they are attached to the top diver using closures, and can also be tied using laces.

 

Footwear

As far as I know, there is n’t a company that specifically designs boots for beekeepers.

With this said, it is important to have suitable and practical footwear.

I would recommend a pair of protective work boots that have some height to them. Either above the ankles or to the shins.

Whichever style you choose, I would recommend wearing leggings and socks to ensure there are no gaps. You could even use a double pair of socks and pants tucked inside the second pair.

Bee smoker

The smoker is an invention of Moses Quinby in 1875. Its function is to gain control over the bees, which in the presence of smoke, are removed assuming that it is a fire. This is a natural behavior, possibly genetically stereotyped.

The smokers consist of a bellows with which air is blown into the combustion chamber, in which the beekeeper burns wood sawdust, dry grass, dried leaves or other harmless substance.

They are also sold without manual bellows that have been replaced by an electric fan that is activated with a push-button.

In today’s market, it is possible to find smokers of different sizes, shapes, and materials.

All use the same bellows principle but the pipe smoker whose smoke flow is sent with the mouth using a tube is accepted.

The most common materials are zinc sheet, stainless steel or copper.

Beehive frame grip

This is like a lever or a handle that is used for the management of the frames and honeycombs.

It is a very important element that will prevent you from picking them out with your hands and reduce the risk of being stung.

Using one of these tools helps when separating two pieces, which the bees stick together with propolis.

 

Brush to dislodge

It is a very useful element at the time of harvesting the honey boxes, by virtue that with it, you can sweep all the bees attached to the honeycomb, sending them inside the hive.

In this way, you do not transfer bees to the honey extraction room. Brushing always produces aggressiveness of the bees that it sweeps being recommended that it is wet with water to calm them.

In addition to the manual brushes, there are bee separator devices that are formed by several brushes in two static and motorized versions.

In the first, it is the beekeeper who moves the honeycomb and rubbing it against the brushes separates the bees.

In the second case, it is a small motor that rotates the brushes just place the honeycomb in the center so that it is free of bees. The brushes are built with numerous types of materials, bristle, and plastic, straw.

Bee wax sheets

The wax is a 2 or 3 mm thick wax sheet, in which, through specialized machinery, the hexagons are printed from which the bee will construct the cells it will use for breeding or for depositing honey and pollen.

This sheet is fixed inside the wooden frames where the bee builds the honeycomb using the sheet as the basis in a process called wax stretching.

It is fixed on horizontal or vertical wires that cross the frame by gluing them through a fusion process, which is done by heating them with an electrical resistance system.

Sometimes, it is also done by passing a low voltage electric current – i.e. 12V by the wires that increase its temperature allowing the wax to be embedded and fixed.

In the market, there are sheets made of plastic that are then bathed with beeswax although the wax sheet is predominant for its immediate acceptance by the bees.

The ease that it presents to reuse it by melting it when it blacks for use, the plastic sheets need of special processes to avoid deteriorating the initial engraving.

The wax is handcrafted using molds where the melting wax is dropped and then printed. The most common press consists of two parts with engraving that closes one on top of the other with hinges.

It can be constructed of silicone or cement, in both cases, it is convenient that they carry some type of refrigeration if their use.

It will be prolonged since the press is heating and the sheets are defective and have to be discarded.

There is specific machinery where the wax is first melted, in the form of a continuous sheet, which is subsequently stamped by the passage between rollers that print the cells.

This same machinery exists to be used manually or automatically when the process becomes industrial.

 

Queen Excluder

The Queen Excluder is an element used in beekeeping that allows separating the breeding chamber where the queen performs the laying and the larvae are raised, from the upper rises where bees build the wax combs where the honey is deposited.

In this way, breeding squares are not mixed with honey squares, because the grid confines the queen to the lower rise, does not allow the passage to the upper rises due to the size of her abdomen. However, it does allow the passage of the workers who go up to deposit honey in the higher rises.

The handling of this element must be precise because the breeding chamber can be blocked with honey and the queen will have no place to lay her eggs. The materials for the construction of the exclusion grids are varied: metallic, wire, or plastic.

Bee Pollen Trap

A trap catcher is a device that allows retaining pollen grains to be transported by the worker bees held in hairs like baskets, towards the interior of the hive.

It consists of a plastic sheet where the bees leave most of their cargo in the trap collecting container and the beekeeper then harvests.

The grilles are constructed in such a way that they do not damage the body of the bee when crossing them. The metal ones are not used since the edges can amputate the wings or the legs.

When harvesting pollen, you must bear in mind that when bees encounter the trap and, as it is difficult for them, they tend to drift towards the lateral hives.

To avoid it, all traps are placed in hives in a row. It is also important to leave enough ventilation at the entrance to avoid choking bees.

When the beekeeper places the trappers, it is observed that the bees decrease the size of the pollen balls instinctively.

If the grid retained all pollen, the bees could not properly feed the offspring, the colony would weaken in a short time or die.

 

Propolis trap

To harvest propolis, the propolis trap is used, which can be a mosquito net or a grid that covers the upper part of the hive.

It is also obtained by replacing the two sides of the hike with slats. Another way to obtain it is by scraping the parts of the hive where they accumulate it to immobilize the frames, the interlayer or other parts.

The traps are based on the bees’ propolis closing all spaces that have a measure that does not allow it to pass.

 

Equipment for honey extraction

A centrifuge is commonly used to extract honey, whose axis can work vertically or horizontally.

In it, the movable frames are placed with the wax honeycombs that contain the honey, by centrifugal force it leaves the hexagonal cells of the honeycombs stamping against the walls of the machine.

There has been an evolution in this type of machinery over time, initially they were manual and for two or four frames, usually of sheet metal.

At present, they have a large capacity of frames (between 80 and 120) to do more work, present speed controllers, baskets that allow fast loading, powerful engines, self-braking systems.

They are usually built-in special stainless steel for the food industry. Once the honey is collected in the extractor or a stainless steel pit, using vane pumps, it is sent to decanters, or directly to the drums.

 

A Few Final Thoughts

Would you like to know more about the health benefits associated with honey? If yes, please follow this link. 

If you ever need a helping hand or have any questions on this product or want to leave a comment or a review of your own, please do so in the space provided below.

I will be more than happy to answer them as best to my knowledge and would enjoy hearing from you.

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All the best,

Eco_Catherine

ecocatherine@about-going-green.com

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Reader Comments

  1. This is a very good and informative article. We are dependent on bees so much and yet most of us do not realize it.

    Thanks for taking the time to explain these tools and the process to use them.

    I have learned something new today.

    Thank You!

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