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honey | Beekeeping
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Beekeeping Equipment

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When one ventures into beekeeping, beekeeping equipment or apiary equipment is very essential. The various beekeepers’ equipments are veil, gloves, clothing, smoker, queen excluders, bee feed and feeders, honey extractors and wax processors.

Protective clothing protects beekeepers from stings of honey bees. A smoker allows beekeeper to control bees and hence protects against stings. A hive tool helps beekeeper in gently prying apart top bars or frames thus reducing risk of disturbing the bees. All of these equipments can be made locally by tinsmiths or tailors. These can be procured through various beekeeping stores, associations or can be bought online. Beekeeping catalogue of reputed companies come handy in selecting the cost effective product. Internet is a very versatile source of finding beekeeping equipment suppliers.

Whatever the mode of procuring beekeeping equipment, it should meet the requirement and must be cost effective and durable.

The various beekeeping equipments are

1. Veil: A veil is the most important equipment required by a honey beekeeper. It can be a plastic or metal screen, nylon mesh or mosquito netting. It can also be made to fit over a wide brim hat that holds the veil away from the face and neck. Elastic or rubber band is used to hold veil onto the hat. The color of the mesh material should be dark so as to limit reflection and help in visibility.

2. Gloves are another apiary equipment that is needed in case the bees are volatile. These can be made of leather or cloth. Buy that reach up to elbow so as to cover maximum part of the hand.

3. Clothing forms an important part of honey beekeeping equipment. they must be light in color and loose-fitting as bees do not get attracted towards light color. Overalls are the best option as they cover the whole body.

4. Smoker is essentially protective equipment in the sense that it prevents bees from stinging the beekeeper. It helps in making bees consume honey instead of flying and stinging. A smoker has firebox along with grate that holds the smoldering material. It has a nozzle which directs the path of smoke.

Locally made smokers go a long way in meeting the exact requirement of an apiary. As local tinsmith can understand the requirement and design smoker as per your description, this form of smokers are the best choice. Otherwise, you can check in used beekeeping equipment shop for a smoker that meets your requirement.

5. Honey extractors: These beekeeping equipments are very essential once honey is formed and needs to be extracted. You can go through beekeeping equipment catalogue for the best honey extractors.

6. Honey and wax processors: Once honey is extracted, it needs to be processed so as to refine it and clean it of all impurities. This processed honey is the honey that is sold and has huge demand. Likewise, beeswax needs to be processed so as to be fit for use in shoe polish, candle and other such products. Honey and wax processors can be purchased online from any beekeeping equipment supplier.

How to Buy Honey Bees

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One of the most essential parts of beekeeping is beekeeping equipment and supplies. The most important supply of beekeeping is bees itself. Due to the availability of vast number of honey bees and as there are different types of honey bees with different properties and characteristics, it is pertinent to buy bees with utmost care.

First, it must be decided which type of bees to buy. There are different species of bees. Majority of the bees are solitary, but some are social and they live together in colonies. They divide the work to be performed among the individual bees. All bees collect pollen and nectar from flowers, but only some of the social bees store the nectar in the form of honey. Also, among those bees who store honey, even fewer store it in sufficient quantity so as to make the honey harvesting effort worthwhile.

The different types of bees are sting-less bees like, Melipona and Trigona. Apis which is the true honey bee has four species, three native to Asia and one to Afro-European region. All of these look similar, but have different size and color. They build vertical combs which are two cells thick.

The Africanized bee is characterized by its unpredictability and defensiveness. Their sting is fatal making them one of the most dangerous bees to keep.  European bees build large colonies’ and produce huge supplies of honey, sometimes yielding 100 kg per year or more under optimum conditions.

So, keeping in mind the characteristics of types of bees, one must select and buy bees for beekeeping. Some points that help in buying bees are:

1. High quantity of honey production
2. Low tendency of swarm
3. Calm on combs during work in colony
4. Disease resistant
5. Little use of propolis
6. Gentleness

Now the question arises, how to buy or from where to buy honey bees. While selecting honey bees to buy, one must keep in mind the cost effectiveness, guarantee offered, payment terms, source of purchase, etc. The easiest method is to check online. While buying honey bees online, check the reputation of the seller and the cost offered. Check whether shipment cost is borne by the seller or not. Another method of purchasing honey bees is to opt for packaged honey bees. You get one prescreened box that has honey bees and a queen bee. Transfer these bees in the hive and allow the colony to build. Other option is to purchase a full-sized ready made colony of honey bees.

The best and the easiest way to purchase honey bee is to buy two fully established colonies of bees from a reputable local beekeeper. This helps in allowing interchanging of frames of brood and honey in case one colony becomes weaker and requires a boost.
Before buying bees or colonies, it is advisable to inspect the bees or colonies. Request for a recent certificate of inspection provided by state Department of Agriculture. It is advisable to buy bees in standard equipment only. Also, check the condition of the equipment.