Best Hive Tool buying guide
Some of the beginners in beekeeping probably do not know what a hive tool is. However, this is one of the most valuable tools that beekeepers should have. For you to be a successful beekeeper, you need to know your tools well and purchase only the best. The best hive tool compliments your efforts and may be the difference between a successful beekeeper and a not so successful one. The tools you use determine your seriousness to making it in beekeeping.
Essentially, the market is awash with many products and selection of the right tools may be an uphill task. However, knowing what to look for in your product makes it so much easier. That is what we have actually done below.
Why you need a hive tool
The beehive is made up of several different components. Unfortunately, these components usually get stuck together by resin collected from tree buds. The gaps between roofs, boxes, and frames are glued together by this sticky substance. This makes it hard for you to take the hive apart during inspection or honey harvesting. However, this is not usually accidental.
The honey bees use propolis and brace combs to make their nest strong keeping both the intruders and environment out. Honey bees are good at gluing everything within the hive together.
As a beekeeper, frequent inspections are necessary. This is where you require a tool to put the components apart. A hive tool is specially built for this purpose.
The hive tool pries the lid off and separates the supers. It also scraps off the propolis, debris, and stings from the surface of the components. Essentially, the hive tool is a hammer, chisel, screwdriver and a knife all rolled in one. Without a hive tool, it would be hard to pull all the hive components apart. Therefore, every beekeeper should have a hive tool.
What to Consider When Purchasing a hive tool
It is common for people to want to get the cheapest. However, there is always a downside to that; you get poor quality. You may think that you are getting the bargain of your lifetime by choosing the lowest priced equipment. However, don’t be surprised if your hive tool bends or breaks when you are using it. Essentially, the material may be too thin or be of the wrong metal quality to support your activity. Therefore, don’t place too much into the price of the product. You may actually end up spending more in replacement than you would have if you had bought the right quality.
Most hive tools are forged from either spring steel, stainless steel or even high carbon steel. However, it is always good to have a lighter material for your hive tool. You will spend most of your time lifting the metal tool and would be challenging if you have a heavy one on your hands. In comparison to high carbon steel and spring steel, stainless steel is the most appropriate based on two reasons. First, it is not as heavy as carbon steel and spring steel. And secondly, it does not get rusted.
Some hive tools are coming with several colors that make easy to locate when dropped. These colors prove useful especially when the device falls somewhere. However certain colors such as green can make the tool to completely disappear in the grass. Choose the right color such as orange.
With continued use, the color easily peels off or fades. When this happens, the tool can become shiny, and if it is not used often, it rusts. A rusted hive tool is even harder to find if it drops into dried grass and leaves. You can always repaint it later on if it fades. However, it is always good to go for a colorful hive tool. Not impress the bees but to ensure that you can quickly locate it if it falls off your hands into the ground.
There are different hive tool designs in the market. However, not all of them are the best. Over the years, beekeepers have gone for the hive tools having unique bends, as well as, appendages that help them do certain jobs. Unfortunately, there are shortcomings to this design. The appendages can easily tear up your pants or even the upholstery. At certain times, it can also injure you.
Choose a hive tool that has unique bends which will help you lift the frames. The bent end is where you strike with your hand and separate the super. It is not necessary for this tool to have various appendages.
You will also find your vendor has hive tools that may have wood or plastic handles. While these handles look nice and give you a place to hold. However, this should not excite you too much. The handles make it easy for propolis, honey, and wax to gum up. Furthermore, the additional wood or plastic can interfere with your goal of pulling out the nails.
The weight and size
The weight, as well as, the size of the hive tool is critical factors that you should consider during purchase. Longer hive tools may be effective when it comes to the separation of the supers. Unfortunately, the companies may make them bulky. They may be too heavy to move around and sometimes may not be effective in frame removal.
Some manufacturers may claim that their tool is versatile as it can double up as a hammer leveler, chisel, nail puller, pry bar, trowel and can opener. These are exciting features, to say the least. However, there is a downside to all this. They may be bulky to effectively carry the hive or for fine work. Don’t let the numerous features over excite you. The goal is to have a product that will serve the purpose appropriately.
Whether you are a rookie or an expert, you need a hive tool to be effective. A hive tool helps you conduct your inspections in the right manner. It helps you put the hive apart and efficiently perform your inspections. However, you have to select the right tool with which to do your work. Your hive tool should be light, have the right design and more importantly, be made of the right material. If you do that, then you are on the right path to being a successful beekeeper.