Beekeeping Tools
Writings of Chris Slade
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Wooden Wedge for use in manipulating bees

A simple wooden wedge can make life easier when you are in the process of manipulating a hive containing a colony of bees.

large and small wooden wedges

This item can hardly be described as a tool, but it can be a useful addition to any toolbox as well as being a boon to make a beekeepers life easier.

Much of what is written on this page has come from the pen of Chris Slade rather than myself. He advocates using several of them.

Here are some of Chris's words clipped from a post that he made to the Irish discussion list.

If the bee-space between your boxes isn't quite it ought to be; if you haven't been liberal with the vaseline on your woodwork; if you haven't been squirting liquid paraffin (FGMO) into your hives every week, then you will need a wedge. At the time of year when you go to lift a heavy super and find that the top bars of the box below are being pulled up as well, often too late to prevent a thorough and unfortunate disturbance and an unnecessary stirring up of the bees. If you do realise in time what is happening you can lever the box up a few millimetres with your hive tool, then take the weight on your fingers while you bend down to see which frames are stuck and use the hive tool to free them. At this point your back gives up in protest.

However with a wedge to hand you can stuff it into the gap to take the weight and leave room to squirt some smoke in. Then you can change to a sensible position, kneeling maybe, and gently free the stuck frames without hassle to you or the bees. Of course, when you lift the box the wedge will fall into the grass and attempt to hide, so dip the blunt end into the brightest paint you have left in your shed, or put some coloured tape on it or staple some orange baler twine to it and attach it to your clothing so that it is always to hand.

Another use for wedges is found when you discover the hive is not as level or as stable as you thought it was when it was shorter.

I have tried wedges on several occasions, but I didn't get on well with them. They didn't always sit on the hive without falling off and I kept losing them, so I gave up. Then I saw an item called a "Waggle Wedge", that is more sophisticated than a normal wedge. It has a stop, so you can push it in the gap just the right amoint, so it doesn't fall out. It has a magnet, so it can be placed on a hive roof. I don't like gadgets, but this is a great help to me. R.P.

Originally written by Dave Cushman. Edited and additions by Roger Patterson.

Page created 05/05/2004

Page updated 04/12/2022

 Written... 05 May 2004, Upgraded... 17 August 2004, Further Upgraded... 08 January 2007,
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