April 13th 2020
With the current "lockdown" here in the UK there is time to take stock. Perhaps now is the time to consider secondhand beekeeping kit.
Do you have secondhand beekeeping kit for sale? or is there secondhand beekeeping kit you wish to purchase? Is there kit you could be cleaning?
Why not check your stores and see if you have any beekeeping kit for sale. Perhaps you have a spare super you no longer need but could be repaired. Such a piece of kit may be ideal for a beginner. I know that in my shed I have several plastic queen excluders and a spare smoker - none of which will ever be used again by me but are perfectly suitable for a beginner.
What should I not sell?
Well I would like to say you can sell anything that is bee related. That is not the case. When it comes to beekeeping kit for sale there are things you do not sell - and if you find someone selling such kit then walk away.
The things I am talking about are anything that has been in close contact with the bees and could be carrying diseases which cannot be removed. For example - used frames. It is possible to sterilise frames but is is worth the risk of even handling them? Imagine you collect some used frames and bring them home. Did you observe strict biosecurity en route? Did you put the frames in the boot of the car. Next week when you go to the apiary I exepct you will put you beesuit into the same car - you get my drift.
Thus do not buy used frames or used wax foundation. It is not worth the risk.
What could I buy?
If it has not been too close to the bees or if it can be sterilised then you can buy it safely - but...
Buying a hive
If you buy a hive then first make certain it is the design you want. I have heard of several cases of hives sold as "Nationals" which are not. They look like a National at first glance but careful measurement shows they are not. For a list of all the common hive sizes have a look here and for frames sizes look here. If in doubt take along an empty super frame and an empty brood frame - do they fit?
Having decided that it is what you want then my advice is to bag it up in bin bags or rubble bags before transporting it. Hopefully you are not taking it to your apiary but to a place where you can clean it with a minimum risk of contamination.
Make certain that hive tools are scraped clean. If necessary they can then be placed in a hot solution of washing soda. Take care - washing soda can be nasty stuff and I always use eye protection and gloves.
Buying a smoker
This has not been in close contact with the bees but still care must be taken. Clean of the outside and then have a go at the inside - scrape the soot of the inside of the spout.
These can be scraped clean and then sterilised in a suitable solution as described on the Apiary Hygiene page.
These can be a serious source of contamination. If the hood can be removed then they are bound for the washing machine. If the hood cannot be removed then best wash them by hand. I have heard of people who place the hood into a pillowcase and wash the whole bee suit in the machine.
So what now?
On this site we have pages for Equipment Wanted and Equipment for Sale. With the lockdown as it is this is not the best time to be driving around to buy equipment - even if you do consider it essential.
However this is a good time to be preparing you surplus equipment for sale and also a time to check your stocks and see what equipment you might require later in the year. It is also a good time to be cleaning equipment so look here.