There are many simple ideas that help beekeepers work their bees easier. I have listed a few below, but there are many more that beekeepers throughout the world use. As with all things in beekeeping some things suit you, others don’t. It may be that an idea here may trigger off another idea of your own, perhaps by improvisation.
Many of the best ideas are so simple that not many beekeepers have thought of them. Lets have a look at a few……..
Water. When there is a heavy nectar flow I find I get myself, hive tool, smoker, etc, sticky with nectar. I take some water and an old bucket, so I can keep things clean.
Wooden entrance blocks are always getting lost or separated from the floor they fit best. Take a piece of baler twine and staple one end to the floor. Either staple the other to the entrance block or drill a hole in it, feed the string through and tie a knot the other side.
When lifting supers off a hive you may find a wedge useful for putting in the gap, so the supers don’t crush any bees.
A damp cloth, such as a flannel is useful when extracting honey for wiping hands, handles, etc.
Print life cycles of queen, workers and drones on paper/card and pin on inside of hive roof until you remember them.
Brushing bees off combs with a bee brush rolls them and makes them aggressive in my experience. I find a flexible twig from the hedgerow with the leaves taken off is far better.
Smoker fuel can be collected when you go out for a walk. Take a container with you such as a shopping bag, shoulder bag or old rucksack. There is often dried grass/hay/mowings, rotten wood, fir cones, etc, to be found. If they are a bit damp, then take them home and put them in the greenhouse or conservatory to dry out.
Mead can be made from honey that shouldn’t be eaten, such as fermented. Overheated honey can be used in cooking. Don’t waste honey!
A magnifying glass or Fresnel lens is not only a useful item for seeing eggs and young larvae, but can be used for lighting a smoker on a sunny day if you haven’t got any matches.