Storing Beekeeping Equipment
Beekeeping is one of those hobbies that encourages the use of a lot of gizmos and gadgets. Finding proper place for storing beekeeping equipment will become more difficult as the years go by. Where can we put it all?
More Beekeeping Equipment is Good… Right?
As you grow in the hobby and increase hive numbers in your apiary, your equipment storage needs grow too!
This is because we accumulate more good “bee stuff”. Some things are important tools that make managing bees more fun. And other pieces of beekeeping gear – we could probably do well without.
But we all fall victim to a desire for the latest tool. And, I am as guilty as any other beekeeper in this regard.
Beekeeping Storage Requires More Room Than You Think
No matter how much you try to limit your beekeeper passion to one area of the house or yard, it will certainly spill over and take up much more space than you had anticipated.
Your spouse (husband or wife – there are as many lady beekeepers as men !) will grow accustomed to seeing your beekeeper equipment, tools and supplies scattered around the house, yard, storage building, car etc.
Let’s start with the small stuff first, for storing my odds and end (and taking them to the bee yard) I often use a little plastic household tote (like this one).
It keeps things together and I can change what is in it depending on the season. I always keep the basics of beekeeping tools in my tote. Hive tool, spray bottle with sugar water, queen marking pen, etc.
But if it is honey harvesting season, I include the tools needed to harvest as well. If you decide to get a tote, make sure it will hold your plastic spray bottle without falling out.
Of course, there are other storage options such as a bucket or regular plastic bin. One of these options keeps all your beekeeping tools together over Winter when not in use.
Using a Freezer for Beekeeping Storage
You might look in your freezer and see some beekeeping supplies from last year, or the year before, or the year before etc.
Actually a freezer is a very useful tool for a beekeeper and we usually have more than one.
Mine might contain a bag of buckwheat seed that I had left over from last year. Buckwheat is a good forage plant for bees.
It will bloom only 30 days from planting and can stand up to heat. I like to plant some in my vegetable garden after the corn has been harvested in July.
This will provide some natural forage for the bees in August. A time that is usually very dry in my area.
Storing Super Frames of Honey
Another great use of the freezer, is for storing honey. These partial frames of honey are safely frozen and will be given to hungry colonies in late winter/early Spring.
Freezing keeps the honey fresh and protected from wax moths and other pests. They will be removed from the freezer and allowed to thaw the day before being placed in the hive that needs honey.
You can also store honey for yourself in this way. Learn more about how to properly store honey for human consumption – Here.
How to Store Empty Honey Supers
Honey supers are placed on the hives to store the honey crop that the bees make for us. Some of these boxes will only have sheets of foundation, others will be filled with valuable honeycomb.
My honey supers will be used from about April until late July. After the honey harvest, I stack them far away from the hives and let the bees clean them.
You can also put wet supers back on the hives for cleaning but you must give every hive one. I rarely do this because I am concerned about honey bee robbing getting started.
Once the honey supers are dry. Now, what do we do with them the rest of the year ?
The frames of comb inside the box are valuable and most beekeepers do not want the bees to have to remake fresh beeswax comb each year. Pests such as wax moths will lay eggs in the comb and cause much destruction.
I do not want to use chemicals so I need to have the frames of comb exposed to light and air. (Moths like dark).
I had my equipment stored under an open shed with some bars constructed to hold brood comb. The bars held honey supers and frames but also brood frames from hives that had died out for any reason.
However, the rascally raccoons damaged over $100 in value of drawn comb one winter. Surround your shed with wire to protect the honeycomb.
If you have only a few boxes, you may choose to keep the empty frames frozen all Winter. Another option is to freeze the comb for 48 hours – move it to a place protected from insects – let it dry and then store in an airtight container.
A small shed can provide beekeeping equipment storage
You may feel that you have a “good bead on things” and everything in its place. However, proceed with caution or your beekeeping “stuff” will take over your garage, work shed, house etc.
There are as many ways for storing beekeeping equipment as there are beekeepers. Find something that works for you and your bees.
Use what you have if possible. That’s a great way to be more sustainable and have less waste.