Bee Season: 4 Must-Have Tools

Bee Hat and Veil

Bee Hat and Veil

Kelley's favorite tool is her hat and veil.

Kelley's favorite tool is her hat and veil.

As a novice beekeeper, I’ve started small with one hive and the minimum of tools. I know beekeepers who need an extra room for their equipment: honey filters and extractors, frame-making gadgets and more. I’m not knocking it; in 10 years, I’ll probably be there. But for now, these are the tools I can’t live without.

1. Hive Tool

The bees seal the cracks in the hive with resin-like propolis. You use the flat end of the multipurpose hive tool to break the seal and, once you’re in the hive, scrape away excess comb. The curved end becomes a lever for prying up the frames.

2. Mini-Smoker

I love my smoker because it’s compact; I only need enough smoke for one hive. I load mine with pine needles, but you can use any fragrant fuel to calm the bees: bee tobacco, fabric (cotton or burlap), wood chips and even cardboard.

3. Gloves

Next up? Gloves. I don’t have a bee suit (hate ‘em, the uncomfortable things), so I pull on an extra shirt and use my shoulder-length gloves to protect against stings.

4. Hat and Veil

My favorite piece, though, is the veil that one of my bee mentors gave me. It belonged to Mr. Thomas, a gentleman who kept bees for more than 50 years here in east Tennessee. When he passed on, he handed it down to my mentor. When I wear it, I think about my grandmother — the first beekeeper in my life — Mr. Thomas and my generous bee mentor. I sometimes consider getting one of the new, streamlined ones. But for now, like my simple list of tools, I think I’ll keep it.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Bee Season: Inspecting Your Comb

The first reason to examine the comb is to check the overall health of the hive.

Got Bees? Become a Beekeeper

Learn how to get started in beekeeping and reap the rewards.

Bee Season: A Basic Hive Setup

Start your hive hobby off right with this list of what to do first.

Honey Do List: Cooking With Honey

Put your bees' honey to good use throughout your cooking repertoire.

How to Gather Honey from Beehives

Learn one way to extract honey from your backyard beehives.

The Bee-Beauty Connection

Beekeeper Cassandra Lawson heralds the benefits of keeping bees. A number of natural beauty companies are also extoling honey's beauty benefits.

Bee Season: Can Backyard Hives Save the Bees?

Our reluctance to use chemicals on our hives is building a stronger strain of bees.

Bee Cool: Learn How to Be a Beekeeper

Beekeeping experts share their insider tips.

Animal Diaries: The Bee

Hives and head gear: Take a peek at what constitutes a bee's life.

13 Ways to Help the Bees

Our gardens used to buzz with bees; now these useful pollinators are disappearing. Find out what to do.

On TV

Desert Flippers

7:30am | 6:30c

Desert Flippers

8:30am | 7:30c

Desert Flippers

9:30am | 8:30c

Flip or Flop

10am | 9c

Flip or Flop

10:30am | 9:30c

Flip or Flop

11am | 10c

Flip or Flop

11:30am | 10:30c

Flip or Flop

12pm | 11c

Flip or Flop

12:30pm | 11:30c

Flip or Flop

1pm | 12c

Flip or Flop

1:30pm | 12:30c
2pm | 1c

House Hunters

2:30pm | 1:30c

Fixer Upper

3pm | 2c

Fixer Upper

4pm | 3c

Fixer Upper

5pm | 4c

Fixer Upper

6pm | 5c

Fixer Upper

7pm | 6c
On Tonight
On Tonight

Love It or List It

8pm | 7c

House Hunters

11pm | 10c

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.