Setting Up An Apiary Rearing Equipment
Besides the hives, you will need other equipment and tools like the hive stand, nucleus box and smoker to run your business smoothly. You will also need various equipments and machinery for handling and processing of honey, beeswax, for manufacture of comb foundation sheets, and for other operations. Few are described as below:
- Hive stand: A four legged wooden, metal pipe or angle iron, rectangular support to the hive. It helps to protect the bottom board from rot and cold transfer.
- Smoker: The smoker is used to protect beekeepers from bee stings and to control the bees. Smoke is the beekeeper’s third line of defence. You may use “smoker”– a
device designed to generate smoke from the incomplete combustion of various fuels to calm down the bees. Smoke initiates a feeding response in anticipation of possible hive abandonment due to fire. Smoke also masks alarm pheromones released by guard bees or when bees are squashed in an inspection. The ensuing confusion
creates an opportunity for the beekeeper to open the hive and work without triggering a defensive reaction.
You may use hessian, twine, burlap, pine needles, corrugated card board, and mostly rotten or punky wood as a fuel to make a smoker. However, Indian beekeepers, often use coconut fibres as fuel for smoker as they are readily available, safe, and of negligible expense. Some beekeeping supplying sources also sell commercial fuels like pulped paper and compressed cotton, or even aerosol cans of smoke. Other beekeepers use sumac as fuel because it ejects lots of smoke and doesn’t have an
Some beekeepers are using “liquid smoke” as a safer, more convenient alternative. It is a water-based solution that is sprayed onto the bees from a plastic spray bottle.
- Protective Clothing: To protect beekeepers eyes and nose from stings at the time of work near the apiary, proper cloths are required. As novice beekeepers you should always wear gloves and a hooded suit or hat and veil. The face and neck are the most important areas to protect, hence you should wear atleast a veil.
Defensive bees are attracted to the breath, and a sting on the face can lead to much more pain and swelling than a sting elsewhere, while a sting on a bare hand can usually be quickly removed by fingernail scrape to reduce the amount of venom injected. The protective clothing is generally light coloured and of a smooth material.
This provides the maximum differentiation from the colony’s natural predators. ‘Stings’ retained in clothing fabric continue to pump out an alarm pheromone that attracts aggressive action and further stinging attacks. Washing suits regularly and rinsing gloved hands in vinegar minimizes attraction. The important clothing and accessories are as follows:
(i) Bee veil: It is a cap made of cloth and wire or fabric net. It is worn over face for protection against stings. It should be made up of black nylon netting screen (12-mesh). Veils should be made to fit snugly around the hat and to fit tightly to the shoulder leaving enough space between veil and face.
(ii) Overalls: Also known a bee suit, is a protecting garment worn loosely over the clothes so that the bees cannot get under the clothes. Light coloured cotton materials are preferable since they are cooler and create less risk for antagonizing bees. It should be worn bee-tight so that the bees are not able to enter from the sleeves.
(iii) Gloves: Bee gloves are made of tightly-knit cloth (or) soft leather. They cover the fore arms. The gloves are useful for the beginners to develop confidence in handling bees. But handlings of frames will be cumbersome if gloves are worn.
(iv) High boots: A pair of gum boots will protect the ankles and prevent bees from climbing up under trousers.
- Comb foundation sheet – is made up of wax. It is artificially provided for the colonies during honey flow season by cutting them to a proper conical size and attaching them to super frames by means of thread or fibre. It is a thin sheet of beewax embossed with a pattern of hexagons of size equal to the base of natural
brood cells on both sides. The size of the hexagon varies with bee species. The sheet is fixed to the frames on fine wires threaded through holes in the side bars and stretched tight. A spur or an electrical heating device is used to embed wires into the comb foundation sheets which are prepared in a comb foundation mill. The bees construct superstructure of comb cells over the sheet.
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