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July 10, 2013 at 11:02 pm #6636
Langstroth hives (often called Langs) are modular boxes containing 8 or 10 frames. Lang hive boxes come in three sizes—deep, medium, and shallow—and are designed to take advantage of bee space. Bee space is an idea put forth by many and patented by Reverend Lorenzo Langstroth; it posits that bees will not build comb in an area smaller than 1cm or 3/8 inch. Bees will build comb if the space is larger than 3/8 – 1/4 inches, and glue it together with propolis if smaller. If properly spaced, frames in a Langstroth hive allow for perfect bee space between combs. This allows the beekeeper to selectively manage the hive with minimal disruption.
In order to help ensure that combs are nice and straight, conventional beekeepers use wax or plastic foundation in each frame. The idea is to provide the foundation from which the bees can draw their cells, which in theory saves the bees time and effort, limits the amount of drone comb and allows the comb to be reused after honey extraction. The drawback is that the wax used to make the foundation is contaminated with chemicals used to treat bees for pests and diseases. The alternative is to use starter strips which are wax-coated tongue depressors glued into the groove on the underside of the frame’s top bar. Starter strips serve as a comb guide, encouraging bees to build their combs within each frame. Watch how to make starter strips.
I’m not afraid of bees so why do I have to wear a bee suit & veil?
Being stung in the face is no fun at all. Stings elsewhere (i.e. on your hands) are tolerable, but stings to the face can be quite unpleasant. Bees are incredibly perceptive of compounds in the air and can detect the CO2 in our breath and zero-in on its source (Read: sting you in the kisser).
Why do I need a smoker?
Smokers are an essential tool when opening a bee hive. When bees sense smoke, they gorge themselves on honey in the event that they’re going to have to pick up and leave to establish a new colony elsewhere. Bees that are busily eating honey can’t be bothered with the beekeeper poking around the hive. Secondly, the smoke masks the bees alarm pheromone, preventing them from launching a coordinated defense.
You can use any dry, organic material in your smoker and a good tip is to make sure flames aren’t shooting out the top when you puff the bellows. Beekeepers have to be hyper-vigilant when using a smoker not to cause a fire with an errant ember. It pays to be prepared and carry a fire extinguisher just in case. Watch why my smoker is my best friend.
The hive tool
The hive tool is like a 9-in-1 tool that’s been specially designed for hive work. It’s an essential tool for beekeepers because it enables us to scrape and pry our way through the various beekeeping tasks. The scraping end allows you to remove excess propolis, wax, burr comb, and swarm cells. The prying end allows you to crack open the lid, separate hive boxes, and pry frames loose.
The bee brush
Brushes are used to gently remove bees from frames. A leafy branch or feather can be used as alternatives.July 19, 2013 at 5:36 pm #6754
Below is a list of the basic tools/gear we recommend to get started as an urban beekeeper. You can purchase these locally at a beekeeping store or online. In Los Angeles we have 2 options for shopping locally: LA Honey Company in the City of Industry & Pierce Mieras in Fullerton.
FEATURED ABOVE: 10 frame assembled hive (Medium Supers) with a regular bottom board with foundationless frames.
Item numbers: 986Z, 990BZ, 751, 495, 775, 713, 673 (you will have an option to choose what sizes you would like) – these items can also most likely be purchased locally at your nearest beekeeping supply store.
The following (or similar) items you can purchase anywhere:
The Bee-Friendly Plants, as well as a water source you can pick up from your local nursery. The water source featured above is a terra cotta saucer and some red river rocks or Mexican beach pebbles. Simply fill the saucer with the rocks and some water – this will serve as your bees water source and must be set up before getting your bees.
The other crucial pieces of “equipment” are books! Check out our HoneyLove Lending Library here:
- This reply was modified 4 months, 3 weeks ago by Chelsea McFarland.
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