Beekeeping has been around for a very long time, and since the Langstroth hive was invented in 1851, the basics have remained the same. That being said, there have also been some really cool and really useful beekeeping gadgets that have come out recently.
These tools can make beekeeping more enjoyable, easier, and even more profitable. So, let’s take a look at the best beekeeping gadgets that have come out recently.
Best Beekeeping Gadgets
See below for a few of the best beekeeping gadgets available today.
A thermal camera can be especially helpful for beekeepers who live in cold climates. In the winter, you don’t want to open up the hive much, if at all, because it lets the warmth out. However, without regularly inspecting your hive, you also don’t know what’s going on in there.
That’s where a thermal camera comes in handy. With a thermal camera, like the Flir, you can easily monitor where the colony is, and how big it is. You can also see if any rodents have entered the hive.
This kind of technology can actually save the colony during the winter. Depending on the size and location of the winter cluster, you will be able to determine if the colony has run out of food. Since bees cannot forage during the cold winter, a thermal camera can alert you as to when you must step in to feed your bees.
Thermal cameras, such as the Flir One, converts heat into electronic signals, which then is recorded and sent to your smart phone. They detect heat, rather than see inside the hive, so you can determine where exactly the cluster is by taking photos from multiple sides of the hive.
While a thermal camera may not be absolutely necessary for beekeeping, it really is a handy gadget to have around, especially during the winter. Some beekeepers even say that a thermal camera is one of the best beekeeping gadgets to have, as it has the ability to save an overwintering colony.
Weighing your beehive is a good way to monitor the health of your hive without having to open it up. Frequent hive inspections can stress a colony out, and checking each frame for honey production can take a long time.
But if you weigh your hive you can get a good idea of how much honey is stored in the hive. That is important to know because 1. You want your beehive to be productive, and 2. For overwintering.
In the winter bees cannot forage for food, that’s why they store honey in the hive to eat. But if they run out of honey during the winter, a beekeeper must step in to feed them or they’ll die. Weighing a beehive allows the beekeeper to know if the colony has an adequate amount of honey to survive.
Beehives are pretty heavy, so weighing one isn’t the easiest thing to do. Luckily there are some gadgets that can help out with that.
High tech beehive scales, like the SolutionBee, monitors and stores the hives weight and temperature every hour. Readings are very precise and transmitted using WiFi to the SolutionBee app.
A hive scale allows you to know when hives are healthy and enjoying a good nectar flow vs unhealthy and not collecting nectar. This can be determined by seeing if your hives weight is increasing or decreasing.
The SolutionBee scale also checks the hives temperature and humidity, which is a really cool feature. By monitoring your hive’s temperature and humidity, you’ll know if the hive is getting adequate ventilation.
A honey refractometer is a handy beekeeping gadget that measures the moisture content of honey. Refractometers work by measuring the degree that the light passing through honey is bent. This is called refraction.
Using the degree of refraction, a honey refractometer will determine the concentration of honey you are measuring.
It is important to have the proper moisture content in honey. Nectar starts off as 80-90 percent water. Bees then break the nectar down and dry it out until the moisture content is below 18%.
If the honey is harvested with a moisture content above 18%, the honey will ferment. Therefore, it is important to use a honey refractometer to ensure that your honey is 16-18% before harvesting.
While much of beekeeping is done the old fashioned way, there are some new gadgets that really come in handy. The best beekeeping gadgets make life easier for the beekeeper and help the bees as well.