I’m a guy, and that means I like tools. It doesn’t mean I’m any good with them; it just means I’m genetically disposed to like them. So to that end, I’m going to start the occasional review about tools and equipment I use in my backyard apiary.
With beekeeping, there are dozens of tools and hundreds of products. I was advised by some competent beekeepers not to buy too much initially and be wary of any tool or device that wasn’t simple enough to build myself—sage advice in an industry that’s always trying to reinvent what already works.
If you’re only going to have one tool to work a hive and let’s face it, as a backyard beekeeper, you only need one, get a tool with a flat blade on one side and a “J” hook on the other.
The Mann Lake HD620 is a flat blade and hook hive tool comparable to the infamous Maxant HT-2-MS tool. Mann Lake’s is about $15 and colored red and silver so you won’t lose it. The wedge end if sharp enough to pry apart hive seams sealed with propolis, and the hook on the end is just perfect for lifting out frames that are impossibly awkward to lift with a gloved hand. While there are subtle differences between this and the Maxant tool, I think for the backyard beekeeper, there is no difference.
And when you lose yours, even though it’s bright red, this one ships from Amazon Prime and is delivered the next day. ‘Nuff said.