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Tools of the trade - Hive Tool

There are three essential tools that every beekeeper uses while working with bees. What you first associate with beekeepers are the veil and the smoker. Typically every image of a beekeeper you find you will most certainly see these two tools. But the more important tool and most underlooked, the Hive Tool.

A hive tool is a handheld multipurpose tool used in maintaining and inspecting beehives. Hive tools come in multiple variants and styles, and is intended as an all-in-one tool for beekeepers.

There are two types of hive tool in common use - the standard hive tool and J-type hive tool.

Standard Hive Tool

J Hive Tool

The standard hive tool has a box levering edge and a frame levering edge. The J-type hive tool also has a box levering edge, but on the other side is a j-hook and a small notch either type may have a small possibly tapered hole which is intended for removing small nails like a claw hammer. The other job of the hive tool is to lift frames when the hive is propolized. J-type tool should be used in a specific way – the J goes into the bee space and the notch rests on the hive wall or the frame behind to provide lift. Do not use the J-hook under the lugs of the frames – it will not fit and you may break the lugs off the frame.

Using an ordinary chisel or screwdriver instead both may result in damage to equipment or to beekeeper. Because an ordinary tool, such as a chisel or screwdriver, may break or damage a honey bee, it might not be worth the trouble when using these tools to protect the hive. This is especially true in the case where a beekeeper is using these tools directly to protect bee-safe material.

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