Here’s a list of twenty-five handy holiday gifts for your favorite beekeeper.
- Duct tape: can’t live without it necessity in the apiary.
- Hive tool: these get lost. So if one is good, more is better.
- Essential oils, especially spearmint, lemongrass, tea tree, or anise: used for making dietary supplements for bees.
- Paint strainers, one- or five-gallon size depending on the number of hives: these can be used for filtering honey or beeswax (or paint).
- Isopropyl alcohol: for removing propolis from everything that’s not propolis. That’s why it has p-r-o-p in its name.
- Sugar, white granulated in 10-, 25-, or 50-pound bag: for making candy boards, syrup, or candy cakes. Also useful for pie.
- Seeds, flowers or herbs: provide bee forage—choose flowers that are attractive to bees such as five-spot, bird’s eyes, baby blue eyes, or borage.
- Tree or shrub: serves the same purpose as above except feeds a crowd. Try cherry laurel, California lilac, or black locust.
- Velcro ankle straps: the little darlings really like tender ankles and legs.
- Mason bee condo or bumble bee house: once hooked by honey bees, there’s no turning back—all their relations become fascinating.
- 5/16-inch drill bit, extra long: allows the beekeeper to make his own bee condo. This will save you money.
- Yellowjacket traps: for trapping . . . you guessed it . . . yellowjackets.
- Florescent green spray paint: for marking drone frames, a useful tip learned from Randy Oliver.
- Fishing line, 50# test for wiring frames: it is still springy like wire, but it doesn’t kink or break. Forget melting it into wax, however.
- Ratcheting tie down: for tying hives together, to each other, or to something else; they are good for hurricanes as well.
- Wood filler: to replace those chunks missing from your masterpiece.
- Butterfly net: a long handle is good for removing bees from inside your skylights or snaring flyaway queens.
- Double boiler: for melting wax; try to find one at Goodwill because it won’t be good for anything else after the first melt.
- Uncapping knife: one of those things beekeepers skimp on, but they are really nice to have.
- Bee brush: same as above, and a paint brush just doesn’t work.
- Air compressor: a small, three-gallon, 100 psi air compressor is about $50 and can save hours of time.
- Brad gun: although I use screws on my bee boxes, I use brads on the frames. A pneumatic brad gun is about $20.
- Air hose: to connect compressor to brad gun, somewhat necessary to make the system work. About $10.
- Brads: several sizes, such as one-inch, three-quarters-inch, and half-inch. If you are on a tight budget, just gift the brads. This will force the beekeeper to buy the rest.
- And if you are on an even tinier budget, you can always give them a free subscription to HoneyBeeSuite. That will save you the most.