Beekeeping kit can be expensive when you are beginning beekeeping. Fortunately, there are some tools you can make yourself, and here is an excellent tip below for creating your own bee brush!
By Katharina Davitt, Keno, OR, USA
Commercial bee brushes are made with bristles and as you know bees get entangled in the bristles all the time. I make my own bee brush using a goose wing feather.
I collect them every time my goose moults. Perhaps you have a friend with geese and you can get some free feathers. Other feathers like from turkeys work well too.
I wrap the quill with a little bit of painter's tape and push it into the shaft of a cheap pen. Works very well and the bees do not get entangled.
In summary, this piece of beekeeping kit is really bee-friendly (or 'api-centric', and for that, Katharina received a copy of David Heaf’s book, The Bee Friendly Beekeeper.
The prize was provided courtesy of Northern Bee Books who sponsored this competition.
You can also download a free beekeeping book translated from French into English by Dr David Heaf: The People's Hive by Abbé Warré.
Thank you for this excellent tip Katharina! I’m sure many beekeepers will be able to get
hold of a suitable feather some way or another. A feather is gentle for bees, and can easily be washed.
Handling Bees - by Chris Slade (Dorset, UK)
Because of their compound eyes, bees are very much more sensitive to movement than we are, although they may not be able to focus as well.
Because of this, when opening and manipulating a hive, move your hands at less than half the speed you would normally do to avoid attracting guards alerted by the movement.
Chris Slade (of www.chrisladesbeeblog.wordpress.com )
Relax with the bees
by Tommy Fournier (Verner, Ontario, Canada)
This tip will help beginning beekeepers gain confidence and also allow the bees to be more docile towards you...
I sit near my hive whenever I can after work sometimes, just relaxing looking at the garden or reading a book near them ( I sit about 3-4 feet on the front/side of the entrance).
It helps you relax and get used to them buzzing around you and makes you a lot less nervous for your inspections also as a added bonus I truly believe the bees get used to your smell and will less likely be aggressive.