I wear an inspection jacket when I’m in the bees and I always keep a couple of things in the pockets so they are handy. I made elastic straps (garters) that I use on my pant legs to keep the bees from crawling up my leg. You can also just tuck your pants in your socks.
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If I'm doing work that requires seeing eggs or small larva, I wear 3X magnified reading glasses that I get at the Dollar Store. It takes a little getting used to, but it helps a lot.
I keep 2 of these retractable razor knives in my inspection jacket pocket. I use them for making slits in baggie feeders, but they come in handy for all kinds of things.
I keep a couple of sharpies in my inspection jacket pocket for marking frames and making notes on the tops of the hives (see my post on "Notes in the Bee Yard" to learn more about that.
This sticky back velcro works really well to make garters for pant legs. It holds way better and for way longer than you'd expect.
This is 3/4 inch elastic. I find that works well for me.
Over the years, I’ve found that it’s handy to keep some basic things with me at all times when I’m in the bees. I have an old blue canvas bag that I take with me and it generally has all of the things I may need. The following items are things that are in the bag.
This is an example of one of the hive tools available. I used to have one of these, but gave it away to a new beekeeper because I wasn't using it very often.
This is my favorite hive tool. I have 2 because I often misplace them. The hook is handy for lifting stuck frames and also for pulling frames together.
The long handled lighters work well for starting the smoker. I try to use one at a time so I always have a known good backup when I need it.
I try to always have a backup lighter. If I leave it in the package, I know it's the new one. If the spare I buy doesn't come packaged, I mark it with a piece of tape so I know it's new.
Just in case my lighters fail, I always have backup matches.
I try to keep anywhere from 3 to 6 clean big handkerchiefs in my bag to be used as sweat bands while working the hives on hot days. It makes a huge difference to the bee yard experience if you don't have sweat and sunscreen running in your eyes.
I keep a little first aid kit in my bag. It has all of the basic stuff like bandaids and also some things like After Bite and Benadryl caplets.
I always keep a tube of this in my first aid kit for days when I get a lot of stings. It helps.
I have a bunch of spray bottles that I used for various things. You can buy them at the Dollar Store. I have alcohol in one for cleaning my hive tools and keeping the top of my smoker from welding itself closed with buildup. I have water in one. I have BT in one. I have sugar syrup in one. I may use one for misting bees with Oxalic Acid.
Since hive stands settle over time, I just keep the level in my bag to make sure that my hives are not too out of kilter. This one is about 6 inches long.
I use cinnamon around the ridge of the inner cover for small ants. For big ants, I use grits. Mostly I seem to get small ants.
I make my own powered sugar (most of the time) by putting sugar in a blender and letting it run until it's powdered. I use it for sugar roll for varroa checks and also for queen candy in the queen cage.
Duct tape or gorilla tape come in handy for all kinds of things in the bee yard. I use it for marking things as well as for strapping things.
I save old queen cages in case I will need them sometime in the bee yard (I've had new queens hatch in my hands). The marshmallows make a quick stopper until I can add queen candy and the bees just eat it.
This is a tip I got from my friend Neise Price (see Bee Buddies). Sometimes you're just going to end up with a sticky mess and having a really wet wash cloth handy is a beautiful thing.
I keep a variety of shims, paint sticks, wood blocks, and bamboo skews in my bag for things like adding ventilation to the outer cover, keeping hives level, or adding some support to foundation in a frame. Handy to have.
Rubber bands that are big enough to fit around a frame are really handy to have. Bees don't always build comb where you want it and sometimes cutting a big chunk and banding it into a frame is the way to go. The bees will chew the bands to break them and carry them out of the hive when they are done with them.
Toothpicks can be handy for all kinds of things in a pinch. I like the round ones because they are a little more sturdy. Mostly I use them for helping queens out of their cages when the time is right.
I keep one of my uncapped scratchers that I use during the honey harvest in my bag because they are good for uncapping drone brood for a quick varroa check.
This is probably one of the least used items in my bee bag. But it can be handy during harvesting time or in doing splits.