Hive Tools are specially designed levers with scraping edges and other features that aid the dismantling of beehives or aid in the removal of frames from bee hives. They can also be used to scrape propolis or brace comb from hive parts.
‘J’ Type Hive ToolA very popular tool as it is the least expensive of commercially available types.
It is also narrow, enabling it to be crooked in the little finger of one hand, so that it is always available, yet does not interfere with holding frame lugs etc..
The curved portion gives rise to the name ‘J’ type and is used as a hook to lever out a frame using the shoulder to rest on an adjacent frame.
‘J’ Type Hive Tool
This is similar to the red type, but is broader and more substantial in strength.
The curved portion is used in the same way as with the red type.
Another feature that is shared with the red type is the rectangular sideways extension near the chisel end. This is inserted between frames and is used, with a twisting motion, to separate them and to break any propolising that has occurred between frames.
Standard Hive Tool
This type is broad at both ends, with one end curled round in a scroll.
The separating action is performed by dropping the curved portion between adjacent frame top bars and rotating the tool to left or right.
A levering action can be performed by lipping the curved portion under a lug and rocking the tool backwards so that the rounded portion rests on the adjacent lug.
The unusually shaped hole is intended for removing nails… I have never used this facility myself as I have fencing pliers in my kit box.
The hole, and the ones in the red and orange tools, can also be used to attach a piece of string… The other end of which is attached to your clothing. This allows the tool to dangle within easy reach when not actually in use.
To complicate matters the Yellow Type is sometimes Blue, Sometimes Red and I have seen Orange ones as well.
The bright colours help you to find it after dropping in the long grass, (a common occurrence), but even so I have lost a few myself over the years.
Stainless Types… These are made in all of the shapes shown above as well as a slimmer version of the yellow type.
The use of stainless material renders them stronger and as they often have a highly polished finish they can be more easily cleaned. They can be also be sterilised with more vigorously active disinfectants.