When it comes to beekeeping, many assume that it's too much work or simply not worth the effort. Or perhaps you're imagining the threat of bee stings. On the contrary, beekeeping is an enjoyable hobby that almost anyone can enjoy!
As of 2013, North Dakota led the way in honey production with 33 million pounds of honey produced, but more and more backyard beekeepers are entering the market every year. That means you too can harvest honey in your own backyard (or rooftop, for our aspiring urban beekeepers). But before you can gather that sweet raw organic honey, you'll need to invest in some beekeeping tools. Here are some of the most essential pieces of beekeeping equipment for urban beekeepers and backyard gardeners alike:
- Bee Hive Smoker:With an average cost of $30-$40, bee hive smokers are imperative for the beekeeper to be able to inspect the hive without the bees feeling threatened and becoming agitated. At com writer Kristina Mercedes Urquhart says, "Smoke acts as a buffer to the honeybee’s pheromone alarm system: When smoke is present in a hive of bees, it renders their ability to communicate inactive, temporarily placating the bees. Without messages of danger spreading through the hive, the beekeeper can more easily go about the tasks of hive inspections, frame removals, splits and honey extractions." Bee hive smokers are typically made of stainless steel and are covered with a guard to protect the user's hands. They vary in size, but the bigger the smoker, the more effective it will be.
- Protective Equipment:It's no secret that bees sting, and if you've ever been stung, you're familiar with the pain. Luckily, there is a variety of beekeeping equipment designed to protect yourself from coming into contact with the wrong end of your bees. This equipment allows you to have as little or as much coverage as you want. Gloves and suits are some of the most common types of protective gear, and both are very affordable as well. More experienced beekeepers may become used to interacting with their bees and decide to forego the protective gear, but it's all a matter of personal preference.
- Extracting Tools:As bee pollen does its job and honey accumulates in the hive, you'll eventually gain enough to be able to extract some for your own consumption. Extraction tools are typically made of metal, but they can be either manual or electric. Keep in mind that some extraction equipment can be rented out, so you may not need to purchase it upfront.
Ultimately, beekeeping equipment is essential for honey harvesting. Keep an eye out for the next post, where we'll discuss even more essential beekeeping equipment. Of course, if you're looking for simpler ways to acquire bee pollen, honey sticks, and raw honey, you can order all three online from GloryBee.