Healthy Beehives Need the Proper Beekeeping Supplies

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Healthy Beehives Need the Proper Beekeeping Supplies
By Scott Parat

Raising a dog or cat takes very little specialized equipment, however beekeeping involves educating oneself regarding all the supplies, procedures and techniques for raising healthy bees. Improper education of apiary methods will put you and your beekeeping experiment in serious danger. Beekeepers avoid the potential dangers by simply using the right beekeeper supplies. The extraction and processing of honey requires specialized equipment however, any beekeeping guide worth it’s salt will tell you that the management and maintenance of a colony of bees will require specialized and proper beekeeping equipment.

Sometimes the obvious needs to be stated, and in this case we always need to remember that the safety of the beekeeper comes first when tending to the beehive and bees. You already know that bees sting causing pain, and you’ll find that the beekeeper keeps from getting stung by wearing special protective clothing. You’ve probably seen one of these outfits but you need to realize they consist of a hat, veil, gloves and a suit which is all made of special bee-proof protective clothing. Believe me, when the bees are mad you’ll want to protect your face and it’s often considered the most important body part to protect. So, the beekeeper’s hat and veil are essential items to keep the beekeeper from getting stung. Usually you’ll see the white beekeepers suit covering the rest of his body, you should know that it’s lightweight and is thick enough to prevent the bees from stinging through the garment.

Even the most experienced beekeeper needs to wear this protective clothing since it keeps the bees stinger and thus the bee’s venom from getting into the beekeeper. Anyone who works outside hates wearing gloves, well, beekeepers are no different because it’s really difficult to maintain dexterity with the gloves on but they do protect your hands, however, many old pros go without! Nonetheless, gloves are considered an important part of your protection and can be found by any supplier of beekeeping supplies.

You’ve probably seen pictures of beekeepers squirting smoke into the beehive and wondered what the purpose might be. Smoking simply calms the bees down. This smoking device is usually created in a way so that it can produce smoke from a variety of different source materials. Most of these smokers use natural fuel sources of a wide variety. Traditionally these materials are wood, rotted wood, hessian, burlap, twine, cardboard and pine needles. Beekeepers will use just about anything for fuel, keeping in mind the smoke must not kill the bees, some even use paper or cotton bricks while others will use cans of aerosol smoke. Supposedly the smoke elicits a feeding response in the bees which causes them to leave the hive, it could also cause them to leave because they think the hive is on fire. The hive’s guard bees release a pheromone when threatened, the smoke tends to mask the pheromone thereby causing the bees’ inability to notify the hive of an intruder. All in all the smoke creates confusion in the colony allowing the beekeeper to work with the hive and not be the subject of an attack. Not surprisingly, a good source of beekeeping supplies can be found on eBay and a quick search turned up a few pages of beekeeping smokers!

Bees are competent foragers and their entire life revolves around finding food, however, there are occasions when beekeepers will provide additional food by means of a sugar syrup. Sugar syrup tends to induce the bees to lay eggs and it also helps a hive to survive in times of starvation. Over the years beekeepers have developed different style feeders for their bees. You’ll find a variety of commercially available feeds for your bees. Some types of feeders are “hive top”, “pail and division boards” which are actually on the interior of the hives. Additional feeders are also used in the summer, however, these feeders are simply placed in the front of the hive on the exterior.

The hive and the construction of the beehive is probably the most important factor in successfully raising bees. Beekeepers use all manner of different varieties of beehives, however, current emphasis is on using artificial components for beehives. These artificial trays use a wax foundation which helps the bees to build their honey combs in such a way that the beekeeper can easily harvest. These artificial trays are actually composed of a thin sheet of wax which is embossed with a hexagonal honey comb base imprinted on each side of the tray. The bees will then build off the cell base pattern making it easier for the bees to build their homes. Most good beekeeping guides will provide a list of preferred beekeeping suppliers where you can find beehives and other necessary beekeeping supplies.

Do you want to build your own beehive using low cost materials? Get this great construction guide with a step by step process here. If you can put up a set of shelves, then you can make a serviceable beehive.

This brief overview gives the observer an idea of some of the beekeeping supplies needed to produce successful and healthy beehives. Always invest in good quality beekeeping supplies and your work as a beekeeper will be much easier. Other beekeeping tools and supplies are needed to harvest and process the much sought after honey!

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