Tools of the Trade for Hiving Your Bees

by Donald Ray Burger

When you go to hive your bees you are going to need some special tools that are not normally taken to the beeyard. Letís take a look at some of these tools.

Plywood: When you take the tin can of sugar water out of the package, you are going to need something to cover up the hole. A gloved hand will not cut it. I recommend a small piece of plywood, and by ďsmallĒ I mean about the size of a paperback book. Just make sure the plywood is wide enough to cover the diameter of the hole. Test fit the piece of plywood in advance.

Ice pick: You are going to need something to make a tunnel through the queen candy in the queen cage. Most books recommend an ice pick or a small sized nail. Just be sure that you donít skewer the queen in the act of tunneling through the queen candy. Also, that the goal is to make a small diameter hole so the worker bees have to eat their way through to the queen.

Marshmallows: I recommend you have a supply of marshmallows on hand so that if you accidentally push the entire wad of queen candy into the cage you can hold your thumb over the opening and go back inside the house (or your car) and get a piece of marshmallow to fill up the hole. You probably wonít need the marshmallows because it is rare that the queen candy will be dislodged in the act of making the tunnel. However, life goes easier if one always has a Plan B.

Pocket knife: The end of the queen cage that has the queen candy usually has a small cork covering up the end. The point of a pocket knife blade is useful in removing that tiny piece of cork. Make sure you donít remove the piece of cork from the other end of the queen cage.

Thumb tacks: I recommend you take at least four thumb tacks with you to the beeyard. You will place a thumb tack on each edge of the queen cage to support it when you place it between the frames. The extra two thumb tacks are handy if you drop a thumb tack or two in the act of outfitting the queen cage. Plan B again.

Written March 12, 2014

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