Beekeeping Tools

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Table of Contents

We’ve broken down this list of day-to-day beekeeping tools between “must have” tools and “nice to have” tools.

"Must-Have" Tools

These are the basic tools you have from the outset and you will use for years. “Must have” tools are the ones you will likely take on every trip to the apiary.

Bee Smoker

You won’t always need to use your smoker during a hive inspection but it’s a good idea to always have it with you. All bee smokers pretty much do the same thing. This is a quality, stainless steel smoker that should last for years.

It’s easy to light and when properly lit and packed it will smoke for a hours.

This smoker features:

  • Quality construction with heavy duty stainless steel
  • A strong metal shield to protect from burns
  • Easy open, hinged lid
  • Vinyl bellows
  • Oxygen tray

Hive Tool

There are different types of hive tools you can use. We prefer a J Hook, Maxant-style tool like this.

This Kinglake bee hive tool is made from steel and painted red so it’s easy to spot when you leave it laying around (which you will). It is truly a multi-function tool.

We have 3 of these hive tools kept in different locations so there’s always one handy.

The Kinglake J Hook features:

  • A sharp edge for cutting off beeswax, scraping off propolis and wedging between boxes so you can separate them
  • Nice size at 10.5 inches long
  • Sturdy J Hook end for lifting frames
  • A hole for hanging (we keep one hanging on a wood post in the beeyard)

Consider a 3-pack of this J Hook tool.

We’ve tried both the J Hook and L Hook scraper type hive tools and prefer the J Hook. However, plenty of beekeepers like the L hook style tool.
 
You may want to try both kinds to see what works for you. They are available as a set.
 
The J Hook tool is identical to the one above.
 
The L Hook tool is also steel, has red paint for easy visibility and is better designed for scraping.
 

Bee Brush

We’ve found most bee brushes to be pretty similar and you probably will be fine with one from any reputable supplier. The Little Giant Brush is one of those.

We don’t use the brush very often but sometimes you just need one.

On advice of a local beekeeper, we started using a large turkey feather instead of a brush most of the time. Living in a rural area, we get free feathers from turkeys that visit our property. If you aren’t so fortunate you can find feathers here on Amazon as an alternative.

Turkey feathers can be a good alternative to the bee brush.

"Nice-To-Have" Tools

After we were beekeeping for a while, we began to look for tools that went beyond the basic set. These are items we’ve found very helpful.

When inspecting a hive, we like to remove at least one frame and set it aside, giving us more room to go through the rest of the box. The question is: where do I put the frame?
 
This frame holder hangs on the side of your hive box answers the question. It has become as indispensable as the bee smoker.

To keep our hive covers on, a brick or stone usually does the trick.

But when the weather turns extreme or you need to move a hive intact, nothing beats a tightly drawn ratchet strap.

Ratchet straps may also protect your hives from being tipped over by smaller animals like raccoons and skunks.