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Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
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I'v discovered all sorts of new stuff in the last few years. Here are some of my favorites. For those of you who are new and want to buy something better to start with instead of later or those of you who are tired of what you have:

Hive tool. My favorite by far is the Italian one from Brushy Mt. It has more leverage because it's longer, but it's no heavier because it's thinner. I've never bent it or damaged it no matter how much I pry with it. It has a hook on one end for a frame lifter. My second favorite is the Maxant with the hook, but it's not as long and light as the Italian.

Frame grip. I hate the square bent metal kind. I love the cast aluminum ones with the half round handles. They get a much better grip, don't hurt my hands when gripping hard and seem to fit in tighter spaces.

Bee suit. I just bought the Golden Bee Products suit. I wished I had it 30 years ago. It's wonderful. The breeze blows right through it. I suit up in a pair of shorts and a tee shirt or no shirt and as long as the wind blows at all it's nice and cool. Even if the wind isn't blowing just walking around gives you some breeze and some relief from the heat. In case you didn't realize it the two most physically difficult things in beekeeping are the heat while wearing a jacket or suit, and the lifting.

Hive Carriers. As I said lifting and carrying is one of the challenges of beekeeping, so I just bought the Brushy Mt. one and the Mann Lake one. There are things I like about both and I've been using both. The things I don't like I mostly don't like about both. Both will only carry about three mediums across my pasture without everything falling off. If they had given the back rest more height then I could put five or six empty boxes on. As it is I can only put on three. But full boxes, I wouldn't want more than three anyway. The Mann Lake one slips into the hand holds to grab the boxes. This means a bottom board won't stay on unless you have it nailed or stapled on. The Brushy Mt one kind of closes on the hive. But it isn't easy to get this under a full hive to pick up the bottom board, so I don't know that it's any easier. The Brushy Mt one has one wheel and moves like a wheel barrow but with the load down low. The Mann Lake one has two wheels and moves more like an old rotary lawn mower. The Brushy Mt one is also adjustable for 8 frame equipment. The Mann lake one fits the hand holds on the ends, so I suppose it could pick up one 8 frame super full of honey. I'm not sure how it would work on two or three at a time since it can't roll back to the rest because it's not as wide.

So far I've used the Brushy Mt. one more because I've been doing more empty equipment moving and such. My 2 frame by 4 nuc boxes only have hand holds on the long sides so that the dividers don't protrude into the hand holds. These don't work on the Mann Lake one. And neither do the 8 frame boxes. But for full supers to pick up and haul around I think the Mann Lake one might be handier. So far both have been handy.

Rauchboy smoker or conversion. I just recently bought a Rauchboy smoker. It's wonderful. It never goes out unless there is no fuel left. All of those frustrating times trying to get a smoker going after you realize the bees are getting irate are gone. It's either still lit or it's empty. You can load it with a tightly rolled piece of burlap, light it and work the bees all morning or all afternoon with no problems.

After seeing it I converted all my other smokers to a similar setup. I just took a Campbell's chunky soup can and used a pocket knife to put holes all over the bottm and the bottom half of the sides. Then I cut three "fins" in the top by cutting three sides of a square and folding it out to hold the can in the center of the smoker. The can goes in the smoker. The fuel goes in the can. The fuel never goes out.


Of course any smoker goes out if you lay it on it's side. I wouldn't trust that method in a high wind, a high fire danger or the back of a pickup truck with the wind of driving down the road, but it works well if you lay it somewhere that it's not a threat if the wind keeps it going. I lay it on it's side when I'm done so it won't burn up the rest of the fuel.

Hair clip queen catcher. If you're uncoordinated, as I am, this is indispensible. It allows you to catch a queen without the quickness and coordination neccesary to catch them by the wings. You still should be gentle, of course, but it works well if you're careful.

Marking tube. This is a great way to hold the queen while you mark her.

Queen marking pens. These are the handiest way to put an enamel mark on the queen.

I never go to the hives without all of this equipment handy. As far as the queen catcher and marking tube, you often find an unmarked queen and it's handy if you have the hair clip catcher, the marking tube and the pen in your pocket. You just catch and mark the queen and put her back.
 

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WOW... Great advice on equipment Michael...
 
J

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The foam lets the breeze through?

I'm amazed.

I have yet to see one in person, but
the photos made it look like the
hottest possible suit to wear.

jim
 

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Please psot or email a picture of the smoker insert.
 

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What do you use to carry your equipment?
I use a five gallon bucket for my 2 hive tools (1 standard & 1 with the hook), bee brush (hardly ever used), frame holder, long grill lighter,smoker, gloves (just in case), scraps of burlap and a small container for any burr comb I remove.

------------------
"To bee or not to bee, that is the question"
 

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>The foam lets the breeze through?
I'm amazed.

I am amazed too, it's the greatest piece of bee keeping equipment I own. With this suit you don't even need a smoker, but you have to get used to everyone calling you the Michelin man.
 

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Hey MB, this got me ta thinking....

My favorite tools?

First, my hands

Close Seconds, my butter knife and flat head screwdriver.
 

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Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
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Discussion Starter #9
Yes, the breeze blows right through the Golden Bee Products suit. It's really something else. If you see one in person you can see through the suit. My only complaint is it is a bit heavy, but for that breeze I'd haul twice that weight around.


I use a Merril toolbox from Brushy Mt. to haul most things around. I tend to leave it in the beeyard so it's handy. A five gallon bucket would probably do almost as well, but unless you put a lid on it it won't stay dry.

I bought the Rauchboy from http://members.westnet.com.au/beekeepers3/rauchboy_1.htm You'll have to call them to get prices and order it. But the insert works just as well. Basically you just need to end up with a can inside with air holes all over the bottom half and the bottom and something to keep it centered.

My old favorite hive tool was an old cleaver with the end sharpened. I still like it a lot but it's a little shorter than the Italian hive tool.
 

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Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
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