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Tools & Equipments in India

Bee Hives Types

Modern beekeeping requires that honey bees are kept in artificial wooden boxes and honey is extracted hygiencially in honey extractors. Several appliances are used to facilitate inspection and other routine management practivces. Before the invention of the modern moveable frame hive, however, beekeeping was very simple and logs, clay pots and similar decoy hives were used to keep bees. Some of these are described below.

LOG HIVE:  This is a tree trunk in which a long cavity is made to accommodate the bees. Once a colony settles in a log hive it is impossible to examine its condition and to undertake management operations. At the harvest time, combs with honey are cut off, and honey is squeezed out. It is cheap and can be locally manufactured even by a beekeeper.

POT HIVE:  It is an earthen pot. Otherwise, it is similar to the log hive. During honey collection time, the pot is broken and the honey combs taken out for squeezing the honey.

WALL HIVE:  In many north Indian villages bees have been kept in well cavities, specially left while constructing the wall. The space has an opening outside and the inner side is closed with a wooden plank. Honey is harvested by removing this plank and cutting out the honey combs without killing the bees. After removing honey, the colony can be re-utilized.

SKEP HIVE:  It is made up of grass and sticks. Although a few references on this type of hive are available in the ancient Indian literature, the skeps ahve been common only in the European countries.

Modern Bee Hives

Bees are now-a-days kept in modern hives. The hive design is based on the principle of ' bee space '. The bee space is about two times the body size of the worker bees, which allows the free movement and functioning of the bees. Because of the bee space, the parts are not attached to each other by the bees, as is commonly done by them, to insulate the hive. There is space between the frames, between top bars of frames and inner cover and between the frames and inner walls of the brood and super chambers. Bee space varies from south to north.
Father Langstroth of the U.S.A. invented in 1854, the concept of moveable frame hive, which revolutionised beekeeping. A moveable frame with the combs constructed in it, facilitates handling of the bees, inspection of the colony for its requirements and in general undertaking appropriate management of bees in different seasons. A moveable frame hive for the Indian bee was developed in the first decade of this century by Father Newton in Trichinapally. This is called the Newton Hive. This is the smallest hive in India, and has been used in the extreme south. Modification in this hive mainly in size to suit the size of the local bees, have been made in different parts of the country. The main component of this modern hive however remained constant.

The bee space is very important factor in the manufacturing of frames in a bee hive.

Types of Modern Bee Hives

1. LANGSTROTH HIVE:  This hive is the largest of the hives used in India and is commonly used by beekeepers in the U.S.A. In India, Langstroth box is used for Apis cerana colonies in Jammu & Kashmir, and for A. mellifera colonies in the states of Jammu & Kashmir, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal and Maharashtra. Since the size of the A. mellifera bees is larger than that of A. cerana, bigger size of the hive has to be used. The bee space in this hive is 10 mm.

I.S.I. 'A' AND 'B' TYPE HIVES From the very beginning of beekeeping in moverable frame hives, various types of hives have been used in various parts of the world. In India also hives like Sodepur hive, Mysore hive, Newton hive, etc. were in use. This practice of using different types of hives created problems to the beekeepers in efficient management of colonies. The success of beekeeping depends on the use of improved and standardized equipment. The Newton hive has been improved and the sizes converted into metric system. This improved Newton tyupe is called I.S.I. 'A' type hive. This can be built for 8 or 10 frames and with 7, 8 or 9 mm bee space.

The Jeolikote Hive developed in the Kumaon region of Uttar Pradesh is bigger than the size of the Newton hive. This has been improved, and on adoption of the metric measurement is called I.S.I. 'B' type. The bee space is 8 or 9 mm.

The I.S.I. 'A' type hive (8 or 10 frame) is used in the states of Kerala, Tamilnadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Goa, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Orissa, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Tripura and Nagaland. I.S.I. 'B' type hive (10 frame) is used in the hill tracts of West Bengal, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Nagaland and Mizoram.

Modern Bee Hives Components

1. Hive Stand (folding type):  It is made from thick wood blocks or iron tubing or angles. It is used to keep the hive and to protect them from any trouble, or moisture from the soil, etc.

2. Floor Board:  Wooden board generally reversible and closing the hive below. In position below the brood chamber. This provides entrance. The extension of the floor board in front serves as an alighting board for the bees.

3. Brood Chamber:  Wooden box open from top and bottom used to keep brood frames.

4. Brood Frames:  Each frame consists of a top bar, two side bars and bottom bar. The top bar is larger than the bottom bar. The two sides of the top bar rest on the rabbet of the side walls of the brood chamber, and are useful for handling the frame while inspecting the colony.

5. Superchamber:  It is wooden box, similar to the brood chamber. In the Indian bee boxes the height of the super chamber is less than that of the brood chamber. It is placed above the brood chamber, whenever necessary. Super or honey frames similar to the brood frames, are kept in this chamber.

6. Super Frame:  Similar to brood frame but 2/3rd smaller in beight. It is provided with the comb foundation sheet and used to store honey.

7. Crown Board:  Generally placed on the brood chamber or on super if it is present. It is provided with a central hole through which bees can take their feeding. It avoids crushing of bees.

8. Roof or Top:  Made up of four walls. The centres of the front and back walls have small holes covered with wire guaze to provide ventilation.

9. Dummy Board:  It is a wooden board of the dimensions of a brood frame. It is used to restrict the space of the brood chamber according to the requirement of the bees.

Dimensions of Langstroth Bee Hive

Type of hive: Langstroth, double brood, 10-frame box  made of seasoned kail or tun wood.

Bottom Board:  22" x 16 1/4" x 7/8" with wooden rod at 22" x 7/8" x 7/8" size at each side and 14 1/4" x 7/8" wooden rod at back, along with an entrance gate of 14 1/4" x 7/8" x 7/8" size with a sleat of 3" x 3/8".

Brood Chamber / Deep Super:  Walls 7/8" thick; outer dimensions: 20" x 16 1/4"; Inner dimensions: 18 1/4" x 14 1/4"; height: 9 1/4"; rabbet: 5/8" deep and 1/4" wide along top side.

Frame: Top bar:  19" x 1" x 7/8" thick, cut to 3/8" thickness on both sides for a length of 11/16" and grooved in the middle on the lower side. Side bar: 9 1/8" x 3/8" upper side, 1 3/8" wide; lower side 1" wide, cut out from the middle portion on either end to accommodate the top and bottom bars provided with holes. Bottom bar: 17 5/8" long, 3/8" thick and 3/4" wide.

Inner Cover:  20" x 16 1/4" and 3/8" thick with 3/8" x 7/8" wooden bar on all sides.

Flat Top Cover:  3/8" thick board nailed to rectangular frame of 21" x 17" x 2" size, covered allover with alluminium / G.I. sheet.

Appliances used in Beekeeping Industry

1. Hive Tool:   To clean the hive and inner parts, and to work with frames and other parts during colony inspection.

2. Smoker:   The bee smoker used to calm bees, consists of two principal units: a metal fire-pot with a funnel-shaped cover, and a bellows set. A smoke releasing fuel is burnt in the fire pot and air is injected into the pot by operating the bellows; the smoke is then directoed at the bees through the funnel.

3. Bee Veil:   Used for protecting the face from bee stings while handling a bee colony.

4. Gloves:  These are used to protect hands from bee stings, while handling a bee colony.

5. Bee Brush:  A soft hair brush, used to brush the bees off combs and supers being manipulated. In less sophisticated operations, a handful of grass or leaves may suffice for this work.

6. Feeder:  At certain times of the year, the beekeeper may wish to feed his colonies with sugar syrup, as a food supplement, or to medicate them using syrup as a carrier. Among the various types of feeders existing, two simple models can be recommended: the Division Board Feeder and the Feeding Jar or Bowl.

7. Queen Excluder:   The purpose of the queen excluder is to confine the queen to thebrood box while allowing the workers to have access to the super, in order to ensure that the honey combs contain no brood. It is also used in multi-queen colonies. Based on the fact that the bodies of workers are much smaller than that of the queen, it consists of a single sheet with openings large enough to allow the workers to pass through, but too small for the queen.

8. Pollen Trap:  The pollen trap is used to trap pollen pellets from the legs of foragers as they return to the hive; it is convenient for beekeepers who wish to obtain surplus pollen for sale or for feeding bees during the floral dearth periods. When a pollen trap is set up at the hive entrance, returning foragers have no way of entering the hive but to pass through the trap. As they do so, the pollen pellets attached to their hind legs are scraped off and fall into a receiving tray.

9. Uncapping Knife:  An implement with a sharp blade to remove the cappings from combs before honey is extracted. In cooler climates, the blade is sometimes heated by steam, hot water, or electricity which facilitates cutting of the cappings.

10. Queen Cage:  A smallbox of wire and wood in which queens are shipped and to introduce queens into queenless colonies.

11. Queen Gate:  It is a small piece of queen excluder sheet or with wire guage of more than worker body size and less than queen body size holes, used at the entrance for arresting the queen to the bee hive.

12. Bee Escape Boards:  A bee escape board has the same cross section as the hive, and is usually inserted immediately below one or more of the honey supers that are to be harvested, a day or two in advance. The board incorporates a bee escape mechanism that allows worker bees to move down to the box below, but not to return to the supers. These can therefore be taken off the hive free from bees.

13. Swarm Net:  It is used for capturing a swarm. It consists of a strong mosquito net, stiched like a round case, 21" long and 18" wide, with one mouth open. The open mouth is secured with a rope for closing. The upper side is stitched toa round strong wire loop of 11" diameter.

14. Bee Hive Stand:  The stand is used to protect bee hives from termites and bee colonies from ants, etc. For migratory beekeeping a portable stand is an essential accessory to the bee hive. The stand should be strong, but light in weight, compact and handy for easy transportation. It is made up of wood or iron tubing or angles. This allows an air-flow below and thus retards decay in the hive. It helps ensuring adequate ventilation inside the hive. It raises the hives to a level convenient for the beekeeper to work upon the bee colonies.

15. Ant Wells:  These are kept below the four legs of the hive stand. Water is poured into them to prevent ant attack to the colonies. Any repellent (mild dose) may be used with water.

Others Equipments

1. Comb Foundation Mill:  The comb foundation mill is used for embossing plain and pure beeswax sheets with the exact cell outline of the honey comb for fixing into the frames of a bee hive. Such embossed comb foundation sheets form a base for the bees to build up new combs. This helps conserve the energy of replica breitling girard perregaux complications the bees to secure drawn-out combs of adequate cell-size, duly related to the natural body-size of the bees.

The main structure of the comb foundation mill consists of two rollers fixed horizontally close together in a cast iron frame. The surface of these rollers has a honey-comb cell design, which embosses the comb foundation sheets.

2. Comb Foundation Sheets:  These are made of pure beeswax, embossed with the bases and the beginning of the cell walls and cells of the honey bee. These sheets form the base mid-rif or foundation of the honey comb without the superstructure replica hamilton girard perregaux richeville of the cells. They are inserted in the frames, which are placed in bee hives, on which the honey bees complete their combs.

3. Wire Embedder:  It is used for embedding the wire in the comb foundation. Generally the spur embedder is used. There is a grove on the face of the revolving toothed wheel of the embedder. The embedder should be drawn along the wire of the frame for embedding the foundation sheet.

4. Wasp Trap:  To control wasps which attach bee colonies for their food, an easy and efficient way is to use wasp trap. This is a wooden box resembling a bee hive, outwardly, and is designed to trap wasps with the help of baits like fermented honey, jaggery, rotton fish, rotten fruits, putrified meat and discarded brood comb with little honey stores.

Baits are placed in the lower chamber to attract wasps, which enter the trap though its entrance. The wasps enter the top cover through the central hole of the inner cover and are ultimately caught in the wire cage. The cage is then removed and wasps are destroyed.

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5. Honey Extractor:  It is used for extracting honey centrifugally from the frames without damaging the combs. Without a honey extractor, the beekeeper cannot extract the entire quantity of honey from the bee colonies. There are many kinds, but mainly it consists of an outer drum, with a rotating frame holder, which has a circular top plate and a bottom plate made of galvanized sheets.