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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
If you were at your bee yard but you forgot your hive tool what would you use as a substitute?

I have hive tools here and there but sometimes I find myself without one when I need one. I recently used a very small crowbar suitable for opening paint cans to work the frames and it worked well but I was wondering what other things can be used in place of a hive tool.
 

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I have used my leatherman

I have also used a cleat off of an old snowmobile track another times I used a screwdriver.

I'll use just about anything that will fit between the frames.

Steve
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank You for replying Steve. I figure that this must happen to beekeepers quite often and since you listed 3 alternatives I have a big smile right now:) The hive tool is a rather specific tool. The width on it isn't something that I see readily available in many common tools that I have laying around so I have said to myself out loud " I need my hive tool augaahh " :D I am tempted order hive tools every time I look at bee supplies on the internet. :) now that I have over thought this I am thinking go to the scrap yard and find a sheet of steel and make like twenty of them with my cutting torch and paint them glow in the dark. I look forward to hearing about other substitutes.
 

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I've got a Macgyver gene. I'm never without a Swiss Army knife, usually a "Tinker". Nice for separating supers, prying loose frames, or cutting off a twig with a small swarm.

What I've seen, though, is the other side of this question. What do you do when the only tool you have is your hive tool? Watched a friend go after a small hive beetle that hid in a cell earlier this year. With a hive tool. What a mess!
 

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I've only done three inspections and I used a painters tool like that. Not really fair though, my bees haven't really stuck anything together yet.

A folding filet knife works well for cutting burr comb out! Sharp and precise.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
14 in 1 :) I remember calling that a 5 in 1. :) It should be called 15 in 1 now that it is also a hive tool. I got my front tire stuck in a snow bank and my back tires were spinning in mud. I managed to use my hive tool to dig the snow away and get out :) Years ago I almost took my eye out with one of those paint scrapers when one fell off of a step ladder and hit me between the eyes. It had been sharpened so it cut me easily. Luckily it didn't hit my eye:) The filet knife is a nice companion tool Backyarder. I like the propane torch also for lighting my smoker etc. It comes in handy for starting a bonfire in the woods also. I have messed up comb chasing hive beetles with my hive tool also Phoebee:) Swiss army knives are awesome. I have a small knife on my key chain and it has been a life saver at times. That reminds me that I need to take that off my key chain when I go to the airport soon. I don't want it to get confiscated.
 

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I always carry a pocket knife, it will work as a hive tool in a pinch. When I was a boy everyone I knew carried a pocket knife, even to school, most people do not anymore. I use mine a lot during the day for different tasks.
 

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On the opposite side, I keep a Hive Tool in my toolbox (I'm a Carpenter). It is really good for removing small trim and scraping old caulk and paint.
 

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A screwdriver makes a usable but poor substitute, a Swiss Army knife or tire iron makes an even poorer one. What I find amazing is that if you own (for example) 2 trucks, a honey house and 10 hive tools that they are typically distributed thusly:
Truck number 1 has 4 hive tools
The honey house has 5 hive tools.........some ****ed place
Truck number 2, which you prefer driving has no hive tools....a discovery you make 15 miles from home.
Wife's tool drawer in the house has the final hive tool......Don't touch it!
 

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A beekeeper w/out a proper hive tool is like a carpenter w/out the right hammer. If I find I don't have a hive tool at hand when it is time to work my bees I use my truck keys. I start the engine and go get a hive tool.

Leastwise that is what I would do if I didn't have half a dozen hive tools in the truck already. I can't remember the last time when I was w/out a hive tool or when I lost one. It must have been when I switched vehicles to work out of my van or work w/ someone else in their vehicle.

I run through a checklist, in my mind, when I go work w/ someone else. Smoker, veil/suit, hive tool, smoker fuel, matches, drinking water, and whatever I need to do what I am going out to do.

Ages ago I used, tried to use, a pocket knife and broke the blade. Never again.
 

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Mark writes:
> Ages ago I used, tried to use, a pocket knife and broke the blade. Never again.

Hah! Once I read a how-to article on beekeeping where the author always used a buck knife as a hive tool. Well, I tried it and had the same sad experience as Mark. The blade snapped. There is a big difference between the types of steel used in knives and prying tools.
 

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I use a bucket buddy/boss from home depot, bring that bucket with you every time you go jump in your truck (I bought three nice husky ones when they were on sale for $4.99 each a few years back). Works well for beekeeping (unlike normal carpentry jobs), because you only have a small amount of bee tools. With regular carpentry or construction work I just end up filling up the bucket with tools as I use them and can't get to anything.

http://www.homedepot.com/p/Husky-Bucket-Jockey-82045N12/203618506
 

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Mark writes:
> Ages ago I used, tried to use, a pocket knife and broke the blade. Never again.

Hah! Once I read a how-to article on beekeeping where the author always used a buck knife as a hive tool. Well, I tried it and had the same sad experience as Mark. The blade snapped. There is a big difference between the types of steel used in knives and prying tools.
There are knives and there are KNIVES. "That isn't a knife. This is a knife." Crocodile Dundee Now, if I had a knife like ****'s maybe I wouldn't need a hive tool.

Didn't Richard Taylor say that the only tools he needed for working bees was a smoker and a pocket knife? How did he do it?

There are beekeepers and there are beekeepers. What's a beekeeper w/out a hive tool? A grunt. :lpf::lookout:
 

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I think the secret to using a knife for prying against prophylis is patience. Apply a little pressure and allow time for it to work. And I'd use the screwdriver blades before using the knife blades.

I've broken knife blades in the past, but never a blade on a Victornox Swiss Army Knife. Perhaps part of the reason is that they cost more and I'm more careful with them. My loses of Swiss Army Knives have been to the TSA. I think they've gotten two so far.
 

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I know me, and forgetting a hive tool would be an all to often occurrence. So, because we have only a few hives, I bought a stainless hive tool which I leave on a hook on the hive stands. That has worked so far and I haven't forgotten that it's there yet! :)
 

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I think the secret to using a knife for prying against prophylis is patience. Apply a little pressure and allow time for it to work. And I'd use the screwdriver blades before using the knife blades.

I've broken knife blades in the past, but never a blade on a Victornox Swiss Army Knife. Perhaps part of the reason is that they cost more and I'm more careful with them. My loses of Swiss Army Knives have been to the TSA. I think they've gotten two so far.
Knives are built for holding a sharp edge and cutting. Hive tools are made for prying things apart and not snapping. Use the right tool for the job. And leave your knife at home when heading for the airport.
 
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