With the holiday season upon us, I came up with a few inexpensive items for your favorite beekeeper. Each one of these items will get plenty of use, I promise.
- Flower and herb seeds. Most beekeepers like to attract bees to their gardens and patios, so seeds for bee-attracting plants are always a good choice.
- Burt’s Bees Res-Q-Ointment. This is great for stings. Even if the beekeeper doesn’t use it, it’s a nice thing for him to offer guests, neighbors, or the postman.
- Spare hive tool. Nothing does a disappearing act quite like a hive tool. I’ve lost them in the grass and left them inside hives, at the bottom of buckets, or in the back of the truck. You can’t have too many. For extra visibility, paint it yellow.
- Velco ankle straps. I hope this is self-explanatory. Bees stinging your ankles is one thing, but when they start crawling up your legs inside your pants—ewwwwew!
- Duct tape. I use this for everything around the bee yard. For a temporary fix, there’s nothing like it.
- Mason bee condo. Every beekeeper needs a few mason bees around, especially in the early spring before the honey bees are out and about. Plus, mason bees pick up the pollination chores on a few things honey bees are not found of—like pear trees.
- Essential oils. The basic ones for beekeeping are lemongrass, spearmint, and wintergreen. A few others make great feeding stimulants. Try anise, tea tree, rosemary, or thyme.
- The Queen Must Die: And Other Affairs of Bees and Men by William Longgood. This is one of my favorite bee books and a perfect read for a long winter’s night. You can even give this to your non-beekeeper friends and they will be converted by spring.