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J Tool (Hive Tool)

J Tool The classic hive tool in stainless steel. Use as a hive tool and frame lifter, he tool has a hooked end for easy frame lifting / levering and sharpened ends for prying hives open and scraping away propolis.

Wax Foundation

The invention of manufactured sheets of pure beeswax is one of the greatest boons to bee-keepers. This material consists of a thin sheet of beeswax impressed mechanically with the forms of the bases of the cells of honeycomb and the bases of the cell walls.   This is sold in sheets of the correct sizes to fit in the wooden brood frames, shallow frames and sections. For brood frames, “worker foundation “is supplied.   This ensures that the bees are induced to build worker cells in the brood chamber to the exclusion of drone cells.   It should here be pointed out that it is a great disadvantage to have too many drone cells in the brood chamber for too many drones encourage swarming and, as they are not honey gatherers, consume large quantities of honey which might otherwise be stored.   Bees, however, will not always draw out the worker foundation as worker cells. Sometimes they draw out the foundation part worker and part drone. The intermediate cells are called transition cells   For shallow frames (supers ) drone foundation is recommended, because the bees do not store pollen in drone cells but only honey ,when honey is stored in drone cells it is more readily extracted than from worker cells. In natural surroundings bees build drone cells in which to store honey.   It should be pointed out, however, that when drone foundation is used in the supers that a queen excluder is absolutely essential. There are other disadvantages in the use of drone combs.   Sometimes the bees hesitate to go into drone combs until the queen has laid eggs in them. This is frustrated if a queen excluder is used. Further they cannot be used as food storage combs for the winter. There are some who think that the use of a queen excluder outweighs the advantages of drone cells for the storage of honey.   It certainly is a great help to have drawn out worker combs in shallow frames to form an addition to the brood nest. On the whole drone combs for supers are preferable. There are approximately 28.87 worker cells to the square inch; each cell being approximately 1/5 in. in diameter. The cells are hexagonal in shape; two sides of the cells are vertical. This is important to remember for if the foundation is inserted with two sides horizontal, the bees will break down the foundation and build more drone but wired foundation alleviates this This causes delay and waste of effort on the part of the bees. Drone cells are larger than worker cells, being approximately 1/4in. diameter. There are 18.48 cells to the square inch.   Foundation should be made from pure beeswax. Any foundation which is adulterated with any other material should be refused.

Feeders

In the absence of adequate stores of food in the combs bees need to be fed with sugar syrup to ensure their survival. A feeder is, therefore, included among the essential initial items of equipment. Numerous types and sizes of feeder are available, but one should be chosen that will take at least half a gallon of syrup. The simplest, and in many ways the best type of feeder consists of a container filled with syrup, and closed with a perforated lid, which is then inverted over the feed hole of the hive. Such a feeder can be made from a jam jar honey can.* The plastic bucket feeder now on the market works on the same principle.

Crown Board

Also known as the inner cover / clearer board / top cover There and many and various “Top Covers” for bee hive with many uses. This is essentially an inner roof to suit the hive size in use, with either no holes in it, or a combination of circular and elongated rectangles to suit the need of the hive / beekeeper. Some holes are circular and these are sometimes referred to as a feeder board that allow access to syrup feeder that usually has circular access to match the diameter of the board Some have the elongated rectangles to suit porter bee escapes If not “devices” are in use a piece of metal gauze can be used to allow hive ventilation, although the bees may “glue” this closed There can also be a “see through” version in glass or polycarbonate to allow the hive to be visually inspected with ne need to open the hive at all…This is great for beginners This is more usually referred to as a “Glass Quilt”, this may or may not can of course be equipped with the holes as mentioned It is usually trimmed with a wooden edge to allow a bee space above the frames

Cover Cloths

Some beekeepers find cover cloths are useful to lay across a box of combs to prevent the bees from running over the tops of the frames when the hive is open. They can be made from pieces of light deck-chair canvas or similar material, with a batten fixed at each end. The width of the material should be slightly greater than the length of the top-bars of the frames and the length just sufficient to allow a batten to hang over each side of the box.

The battens should be heavy enough to keep the cloth flat when laid over the hive and to prevent it being blown off by the wind. The battens, used as rollers, enable a pair of cover cloths to be used so as to expose one frame at a time when examining a set of combs in a brood box or super.

Basic Equipment

Five essential equipment items are Bee-veil or Full Suit, Smoker, Hive-tool, Gloves, Feeder A bee-veil or Full suit is necessary to protect the head, face and neck from stings. It must do this effectively, without being uncomfortably hot or heavy, while allowing clear vision for the job in hand. The veil should therefore be worn on or attached to a broad-brimmed hat to keep bees away from the face and the nape of the neck; at the bottom it should be fitted with tapes or elasticated across the shoulders and around the chest to prevent bees getting inside from below. A choice of net, plastic or wire-mesh veils, or combined hats and veils, is available . In use, a smoker should be capable of producing a good volume of smoke quickly at any time during the examination of a colony. If it fails to respond at once when the bellows are operated, control of the bees may be lost because of lack of smoke at a critical moment. Rolls of corrugated cardboard are commonly used as smoker cartridges, but they tend to burn away quickly, even when the bellows are not being worked. A more satisfactory, slower- burning fuel is old, dry hessian sacking, always provided that it has not previously been in contact with insecticide-dressed seed or any other product that could give off a toxic vapour when burnt. Old cotton rags (not wool, silk or synthetic materials) also burn slowly in the firebox and give plenty of cool, if pungent, smoke when required. The hive-tool is a multipurpose instrument made of steel. It usually has a flat blade at one end, the other being bent at right-angles to form a scraper. It is specially designed for prizing hive units apart, for scraping wax from the top-bars of frames, for separating frames from one another preparatory to lifting them out for examination and for other jobs where a stout lever or scraper is needed. This most useful tool should be as much a part of the basic outfit of bee appliances as the veil or smoker. In the absence of adequate stores of food in the combs bees need to be fed with sugar syrup to ensure their survival. A feeder is, therefore, included among the essential initial items of equipment. Numerous types and sizes of feeder are available, but one should be chosen that will take at least half a gallon of syrup. The simplest, and in many ways the best type of feeder consists of a container filled with syrup, and closed with a perforated lid, which is then inverted over the feed hole of the hive. Such a feeder can be made from a jam jar honey can.* The plastic bucket feeder now on the market works on the same principle. Gloves make rather difficult the delicate task of handling of combs of bees, but if it is found necessary to protect the hands and forearms against stings, a leather pair may be obtained from the bee appliance dealers. The thin rubber gloves now available from chemists have been found suitable by some beekeepers particularly if the gap between glove and sleeve is covered by a short cuff. Many beekeepers prefer to work with bare hands but with some form of cuff fitting closely at the wrists. Some beekeepers find cover cloths are useful to lay across a box of combs to prevent the bees from running over the tops of the frames when the hive is open. They can be made from pieces of light deck-chair canvas or similar material, with a batten fixed at each end. The width of the material should be slightly greater than the length of the top-bars of the frames and the length just sufficient to allow a batten to hang over each side of the box. The battens should be heavy enough to keep the cloth flat when laid over the hive and to prevent it being blown off by the wind. The battens, used as rollers, enable a pair of cover cloths to be used so as to expose one frame at a time when examining a set of combs in a brood box or super. Other items of equipment will be needed later on to deal with the removal of honey from the hive, its extraction from the combs, and with its subsequent straining and bottling.

Warre Hive Description

The Warré hive was invented by Abbé Émil Warré, and is also called “ruche populaire” or “The People’s Hive” . The Warré hive is a modular and storied design similar to a Langstroth hive. The hive body is made of boxes stacked vertically, however it uses Top Bars for comb support instead of full frames. Popularity of this hive is growing among sustainable practice beekeepers. The Warre hive differs from other stacked hive systems in one fundamental aspect: when the bees need more space as the colony expands, the new box is “nadired”. i.e. positioned underneath the existing box(es). This serves the purpose of warmth retention within the brood nest of the hive, considered vital to colony health.

Top Bar Hive Description

The top-bar hive is so named because the frames of the hive have only a top bar, not sides or a bottom bar.

The beekeeper does not provide a foundation (or provides only a fractional foundation) for the bees to build from.

The bees build the comb so it hangs down from the top bar

This syle of hive is also known as the Kenyan Hive

The hive body is often shaped as an inverted trapezoid in order to reduce the tendency of bees to attach the comb to the hive-body walls.

Unlike the Langstroth design, a top-bar hive is generally expanded horizontally, not vertically.

The top-bar design is a single, much longer box, with all the frames hanging in parallel. Unlike the Langstroth hive, the honey cannot be extracted by centrifuging because a top-bar frame does not have reinforced foundation or a full frame.

Because the bees have to rebuild the comb after each harvest, a top-bar hive yields more beeswax but less honey.

However, like the Langstroth hive, the bees can be induced to store the honey separately from the areas where they are raising the brood.

Therefore, bees are less likely to be killed when harvesting from a top-bar hive than when harvesting from a skep or other traditional hive design.

Commercial Hive Description

Commercial hives are exactly the same external dimensions as a National hive, but instead of having a rebate the hive is a simple cuboid. Because of this the frames are larger and have shorter handles or lugs. The brood box is picked up using small hand holds cut into the external wall of the hive. Supers have this same feature, which can make them difficult to hold when full of honey. Some beekeepers therefore use National supers on top of a Commercial brood box.