The lone bee!
It's late fall and we are getting our bees ready for the winter. As we were winding our bee season to a close, I thought I would bring up 2 different pieces of bee equipment that have been incredibly useful to use this year. There's a lot of bee equipment equipment that is mediocre (or does not come with instructions so is about as useful as a Slap Chop).
This was a hive tool Mr Neil found...I think when he went to Australia. Hive tools are needed to pry boxes and frames apart--especially after bees have propolised them together. Our newest one is called an Australian hive tool. What separates this from your garden variety beekeeping hive tools (besides higher cost) is the little hook on the end--you can use it to pull out the frames from the brood boxes. If you are only going to have one hive tool...I'd go with with this one.
The other really cool piece of equipment that Mr. Neil ordered for us is the escape board. Every year when we extract honey, we have the not so fun task of convincing all the worker bees to leave those honey supers and join all the other bees in the brood boxes. We don't always see eye to eye on this sort of thing. We've tried other things to get the bees to leave like Bee Quick which is an essential oil that you spray that causes most of the bees to leave the super and go deeper into the hive. You have to order a new bottle every year because it appears to be less effective after the first summer. There's also Neil's shake the hell out of the box to flick the bees out method.
But I gotta say that this escape board works WAY better!
You place the escape on top of the supers or boxes that you do not want to remove and place it so the triangle side is on the inside of the hive. The top has a hole, the bees crawl down that and out the triangle to join the rest of the hive at night. The next day, when they try to return to the other honey supers, they can't figure out the triangle maze and don't go back.
You then place the box full of honey that you want the bees to vacate on top of the escape board and in a day or two you have a bee-free honey super--it's awesome. More effective than the Bee Quick and the flick method.
You end up with happy bees and not angry bees lost and irritated in the honey super you are trying to harvest. Bonus!