Inside the Hive: Views from a First Year Beekeeper (Scene 17)

Having the right tool for the job makes all the difference.  You can try to drive a nail into the wall with your shoe to hang that picture and it might work but even a crappy dollar store hammer will make that job a cinch because the hammer is specifically designed to accomplish that task.  Those Top-Siders… well, not so much.

Tools for beekeeping are no different and today I want to introduce the hive tool to you.  There are a few different types and I’ve got two of them.  The one I’m not talking about in this post is flat with a 90 degree bend on one end.  Both ends narrow down and can be used for prying or scraping.  I like it.  I’ll talk about it in the future.

But in this photo you can see my other hive tool – the J-hook style hive tool in action.  It has a flat end that tapers to a narrow blade and this is also useful for prying apart hive bodies, particularly when they are stuck together due to propolis.  Visible in the picture is the J-hook end that is great for lifting up one end of a frame in order to grab hold of it.  This is quite helpful when removing the first frame in the box because there isn’t a lot of room anyway and adding a bunch of bees to the mix only makes it that much more difficult to get a good grip on the frame.  Those (as GardenFork’s own Rick would call them) “bugs in a box” seem to have a keen sense for being exactly where I need to put my fingers.  Not wanting to crush any bees (or get stung in the process), I just use the tool to carefully move the frame into a position where I can more easily grab it.

There are a few other tools that are useful when inspecting a hive.  I’ll write about those in the future.



Read all of Matt’s Inside the Hive Posts here

Matt (twitter @MattInTheGarden) can be found most summer weekends mowing grass.  He’s nonplussed about trimming the ditch along his farm’s road frontage.  He stinks at throwing a baseball and really isn’t particularly skilled at throwing objects in general.  Matt likes his steaks grilled medium and never uses steak sauce. 


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  1. Naseer says

    I would like to learn the method of bee keeping in this regard how can i start bee hives

  2. Matt says

    I’d suggest a local mentor – there’s plenty to read here and elsewhere and lots of videos available. Spending some time with a beekeeping mentor in your area would probably be the most productive step you can take. “Learn by doing” is definitely what I’d recommend. Do a search in your area for beekeeping and ask a beekeeper if you can tag along during an inspection.

    Good luck!

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