Be Careful With Bees
It is crucial that all beekeepers use the correct supplies and tools when tending to their bees. Though beekeeping is a popular hobby for many, injury can be expected if the proper care is not taken. But even a beginner can certainly lessen the danger of injury by simply ensuring the right tools are part of their beekeeping supply. The majority of the supplies will be necessary for honey extraction but you'll find that some tools are for correctly managing the hive itself and the bee colonies.
The Suit and Accessories are Mandatory
A key aspect to beekeeping is making sure that the beekeeper is safe from harm while monitoring the bee colony and the hive. This is done in various ways. One is by the beekeeper wearing protective clothing for protection. The protective clothing should comprise of a good quality beekeeping suit, gloves and a hat with a veil. The face is the most sensitive-prone part of the body to attack. It is therefore of vital importance for all beekeepers, regardless of experience, to protect their faces with the proper hat and veil. Usually white, a beekeeping suit is constructed of a lightweight fabric and is full length. The suit is not easily penetrated by a bees stinger and will protect the beekeeper from the venom that such a sting will deliver. Although it can be awkward to use gloves when carrying out the more delicate duties, they are important with protecting the hands of the beekeeper while in close proximity with the colony.
Use a Smoker - You Won't Regret It!
Alot of beekeepers use what's known as a "smoker". Smokers help to keep bees calm and this makes it far easier to work around them. A smoker is an instrument that will discharge smoke using various types of fuel. You can use burlap, twine, cardboard, pine needles, hessian and rotting wood as fuel. Even compacted cotton and pulped paper work very well as fuel. Aerosol cans filled with smoke are also quite effective. The smoke sets off an instinctive feeding mechanism that resides in the bees. As a result, they begin the preparations that would be necessary if the possibility of having to leave the hive in the case of a fire became a reality. If guard bees sense that there is danger to the hive they release "alarm" pheromones. The smoke will mask this signal. While the entire colony is in a confused state, the beekeeper can then seize the opportunity to open the hive and work within its confines without the fear of initiating a defensive reaction from the bees.
The Diet of Bees
Though bees are very efficient in finding food for themselves, beekeepers frequently complement their diet with sugar syrup. Doing this will stave off the possibility of starvation during any bad times of the year when the bee's food source is lower than normal and it also acts as a stimulant for the laying of the eggs. I'd certainly recommend using a feeder to feed your colony of bees. You'll find that there are plenty of different feeders available on the market. For winter, a hive top, a pail or division boards can be used as inside feeders. It's advised to incorporate an entrance feeder during the summer. This is because bees are at their most active at this time.
Use an Artificial Hive
The biggest component to maintaining a bee colony is what they're actually housed in. Beekeeping involves using artificial hives to keep the colony in, which is comprised of a wax substructure. This will encourage the colony to construct the comb in a way that is conducive for easy harvesting. The substructure itself is a slim sheet of wax with a hexagonal design that is raised on both sides. This enables the bees to exert less effort when constructing the combs.
About the Author
This article was written by Dave Henry in conjunction with Scott Harvey, another like-minded beekeeping enthusiast.