Every piece of beekeeping gear is probably good to have around because you don’t know when it might come in handy. But if I had to vote for the one piece of equipment I never use, it would be the bee brush. Exhibit A:

Whenever I need to remove bees from a frame, I just shake ‘em off in front of the hive. A quick jolt downwards and the bees lose their grip and fall together in a clump near the bottom entrance. Neil Gaiman was gracious enough to provide a demo:

I tend to knock the bees off closer to the ground with less force, and sometimes I spray the bees with sugar mist first so they can’t fly around much when they hit the ground, but you get the picture.

9 Responses to “Bee Equipment I Never Rarely Use”

  1. NinetyEight says:

    That’s one advantage of frames over top-bars. If we tried that the comb would likely snap off. We use the brush often.

  2. Julie says:

    Neil gaiman keeps bees? I knew he was wicked cool!

    I have TBHs, but I think bees brushes are useless too. They get totally gunked up. I can’t shake bars like that, though, so I uses a leafy twig, handful of grass, or a big feather. Cheap and cheerful, and they don’t get sticky.

  3. Phillip says:

    I used to use a handful of grass too. That seemed agitate the bees less.

    I can’t wait to set up my first TBH. With any luck, it’ll happen next year.

  4. Anna says:

    Funny you should say that, I’ve used my brush maybe three times since starting in 2011. This last Saturday was one of them, after using a leaf blower to get the bees off of the honey frames, we used a brush to get the stragglers. Rinsed off the brush afterwards and it was restored to its glory…awaiting its next use in the summer of 2015, if I should be so lucky.

  5. Marysia says:

    If you do use the brush (and mine is a very soft horse hair), remember to brush up or sideways, not down the frame. If you brush down, their tiny little legs get caught on the lower protruding rim of each cell. That’s what I’ve read a few times, anyway.

  6. Marysia says:

    One other thing…if the bees you are shaking onto the ground are nurse bees, will they be able to find their way back into the hive? They’ve never flown before in their life or been outside the hive for that matter. Just a thought.

    • Phillip says:

      If for some reason I needed to shake off some nurse bees (possibly for some queen-rearing procedures), I’d shake them off into the hive. But most of the time when I shake off bees, it’s to get them off honey frames. No nurse bees there. At least I hope not.

      These are good comments. I’ll have to modify what I wrote in the post.

  7. steve m says:

    brushes are handy when gathering the clumps of bees around a swarm that is not on a vertical surface… as i found out this week. they were in and on a hollow wood gargoyle… and the brush was great at gently dislodging them into my hands..

    • Phillip says:

      I just changed the title of this post to “Bee Equipment I Rarely Use.” If I have it, eventually I’m going to use it. I rarely use my bee brush, but when I do, it comes in handy.

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