Here are five beekeeping supplies I recommend for the apiary. I have seldom, if ever, seen them mentioned by beekeeping books, clubs, or classes.
- butterfly net: these are great for catching bees that get in the house or snagging yellowjackets that hang around the hives. I’ve even caught a queen with one. It doesn’t have to be expensive—the one I have was designed for kids.
- ratcheting tie-down: I secure my hives to the hive stands with these because I live in a place with a lot of over-sized four-footed creatures and the Sasquatch. But even without critters, they are great for tying a hive together before you move it. I once lost control of a wheelbarrow with a large hive in it. (Okay, dumb.) The hive rolled down the hill but the whole thing held together because of the tie-down.
- duck-billed hat: If you have the kind of bee suit with a collapsing hood, you know the hood can collapse against your face giving the bees a free-for-all with your flesh. If you wear a duck-billed cap beneath the hood, it prevents it from collapsing. (Unfortunately, the hat must be worn with the front in the front for this to work.)
- propane torch: forget matches and lighters. If you use a smoker, you need a propane torch to get it started. It will save you hours of frustration.
- duct tape: propolis on a roll. It can be used to hold anything together in an emergency, and it can also be used to block entrances and ventilation holes. It also comes in handy for repairing leaky baggie feeders. And if you insist on wearing your duck-billed hat backwards (see item #3) you can wear duct tape on your chin and nose to block those stings.