Essential beekeeping tools
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CTA. 2007. Essential beekeeping tools. Rural Radio Resource Pack 07/2. Wageningen, The Netherlands: CTA.
Permanent link to cite or share this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/57145
Making and using smokers and hive tools, and what to do if attacked or stung by bees.
Essential beekeeping tools Cue: Ask anyone who earns a living from a practical job ? a mechanic, carpenter, plumber or builder ? about the secrets of success, and you can be fairly certain that having the right tools will be one of the most important. Without the right tool, a job can take twice as long, and you may end up completely breaking what you are trying to mend. Some people describe beekeeping as almost like an art; it demands specialist knowledge to do it well. It also needs some specialised equipment. This does not have to be expensive, and much of it beekeepers can make themselves, but without it the beekeeper will struggle, and may become both discouraged by failure and stung by bees. Warwick Selzer is an experienced beekeeper from Midrand, a town just north of Johannesburg in South Africa. Lucas Moloi spoke to him about the most important items of beekeeping equipment. Number one, according to Warwick, is the smoker, a tool which beekeepers use to push smoke around and into a hive before they begin their work. Lucas asked him why a smoker is so important. IN: ?A smoker, what it does for a beekeeper ? OUT: ?long as you are not highly allergic.? DUR?N: 5?23? BACK ANNOUNCEMENT: Warwick Selzer, a beekeeper from Midrand in South Africa. In addition to the advice he gave to Lucas, people who are allergic to bee stings must be extremely careful not to get stung. If possible, they should keep anti-sting drugs with them whenever they go to a place where bees may be found. The interview comes from a radio resource pack produced by CTA. Transcript Selzer A smoker, what it does for a beekeeper is it just makes your work with the hive or with the colony that you are working with easier, it calms them done. Because the natural reaction to smoke is that there is a veld fire or a wild fire, and with that they may need to leave their hive. So in that instance they eat as much honey as they can so that if in the event that they need to leave the hive, they can do so and at least have some kind of resources. And with that, what happens is that the bees, because they are so full of honey they struggle to sting. It makes them also a little bit lethargic, they are less likely to fly, less likely to sting you. But what you do not also want to do Lucas is over-smoke. If you over-smoke bees it takes them about a week to ten days to regain their stable environment inside the hive. You lose potentially a week to ten days of efficient harvesting if you over-smoke. Moloi So can beekeepers make their own smokers? Selzer Yes they can. It is very possible; all you need is a cylinder, a bellow, you drill a hole within the cylinder, you need a lid for the cylinder to be closed on which will have a funnel leading off of it. The bellow then must be attached to that cylinder. All you need to do then is basically open the lid, put the fuel into the cylinder, light it, let it burn for a while and then once you have got enough of a fire going or enough of the fuel is lit, you close it and then wait about another minute or two and you should be able to puff the bellow and smoke will be produced. Moloi So what fuel is best to burn in the smoker? Selzer Pine needles are very good, they are extremely effective, they give off a good smoke, they burn easily as well. Secondly would be horse manure, strangely enough. You can also use oak chips. I also use non marked or non printed cardboard material. Moloi So are there other tools that could be useful? Selzer You need to also have what we call a hive tool, it is very similar to a chisel. It has got like a wrench on the one side and then a flat chisel end on the other side. Now this Lucas is used to actually pry open the lid from the hive. To pry that open you need to have quite a strong piece of stainless steel metal which we call this hive tool. You put it in there and give it a hard jerk and then basically it pries it open pretty neatly. Other than that I would say a bucket is probably useful as well for when you are harvesting honey. You take off the honeycomb and empty it into a bucket with a lid, keep the lid on at all times so that bees do not get into the bucket as well. Other than that probably just a light if you are working at night, or a torch and that would be about it. Moloi What is the best thing to do if bees start to attack you? Selzer In a case like that the best thing to do is to get indoors, make sure the doors and windows are closed. If you cannot do that, do not jump into a pool or a body of water. That does not work. Bees are clever, they are intelligent insects and what they will do is that they will wait for you because you cannot hold your breath for ever, right? So what happens is as soon as you come up from the water for air they will sting you every time and they are quick. So do not jump into a body of water or a pool. Do not try and spray the bees with water, that does not work either. Get indoors, get into a car, close the windows, close the doors. The other alternative basically Lucas is to run. Bees will follow you probably for a kilometre but no more than, I would say, two kilometres at an extreme. So those are your two options. Moloi So what is the best treatment for bee stings? Selzer Once you have been stung vinegar, applying vinegar, even honey itself; if you can get raw honey apply that. A hot shower actually can also assist, especially with the itching. But the way that you remove that sting is also vital. If you try and pinch that sting to take it out, or scratch it, you could in fact inject yourself with more of the poison in the process. So what I would suggest in the case of being stung, is to use a flat item like a ruler, scissors, knife, anything that is flat, where you lie the thing flat against the skin and you scrap along the skin so that you ensure that you are basically breaking off the tip of the sting rather than trying to go for the head of the sting. It is also important to take note when you are stung what area that you have been stung or somebody has been stung in. If you are stung anywhere on the face you are going to have a much more heightened reaction, especially with the eyes and the lips, ears, breathing, that type of thing. If it is in the mouth, even worse. In that instance, doctor immediately, clinic, hospital whatever the case is. Because with the swelling, the reaction is that your mouth and your tongue and even possibly your throat swells up to such an extent that you actually cannot breathe without assistance. If you are stung on the hand or the arms it is not really that important as long as you are not highly allergic. End of track.