Inspection tool box- what’s in yours?

I’ve done a search and haven’t found anything specifically on this topic so I thought I’d start this.
Show us your everyday “just going to wander down and have a quick look” inspection kit.
We may be able to pick up some handy hints from each other.

A cheap plastic toolbox with a slot cut into the lid that the smoker hangs off.

It has an internal tray which is handy for the smaller stuff.

Couldn’t live without-
Mini butane blowtorch
Magnetic hive tool holster

Just in case stuff-
Epi pen
Sting goes spray (placebo :grin:)
Flow hat with veil (for spectators)
Spare hive tool (cause I’m getting old and I lose stuff)

Sometime use-
Magnifying glass (again,getting old)
Top up pine needles


Wilfred is laughing. I have 4 hive tools and at any one time can only locate…none (most frequent) or 1 or 2 or 3 or all 4. Know the feeling.
Edit: I am guessing the butane torch is to start your smoker.


Hi @Brad13 here is my offering.

Not all items are taken to hives for inspections, I leave some of it on patio table where I light the smoker.

Left to Right
Plastic toolbox.
Tea Towels to cover top of hive as progressing from frame to frame.
Hessian (Burlap) for smoker.
Bite away for stings.
Frame nails (container.)
Frame hanger.
Flow harvesting tubes.
Old hessian from hive mat (smoker fuel.)
Hive tool.
Knife for burr comb.
Insulation tape.
Paint brush for melted wax (flow frames etc.)
Pine needles (smoker fuel.)
Bee brush.
Lemon grass oil.
Matches/Lighter for smoker.
Rubber bands.
Paper bark (smoker fuel.)
Stainless steel mesh (various offcuts)
Stainless steel bucket for smoker.

I think I will add those two to my toolbox , great idea for a thread, cheers Brad.


I can’t live without my PPHT (perfect pocket hive tool).

I always put used masking tape in my smoker fuel box. A little strip of masking tape makes a perfect fire starter. It ignites easy & burns long enough to get a fire going without any fumes.


Me too. :flushed:
I have my beek section in the shed which is where my equipment lives. The hives are all on my block so my toolbox is usually plan related. I’m a simple beekeeper, usually I get by with a smoker, a hive tool, my jacket and gloves. When I invariably lose, forget or need something it’s just a short walk to the shed.
I spend too much time in the shed…


Correct, the mini blowtorch is for lighting the smoker. I fill and pack the smoker tightly and then light the bottom through two of the vent holes for twenty seconds or so, drop the canister into the smoker with the smouldering section in front of the bellows and away it goes. I find it easier and quicker than lighting a lump and packing on top of it.
As for losing things, I was using a chisel yesterday, put it down and two minutes later couldn’t find it. Get another chisel out, go to clamp the job and the original one is sitting on the vice in plain sight. The next twenty years are going to be a challenge :roll_eyes:

1 Like

I love this, my hive tool is always handy. If you’re pulling a tough frame there’s no fiddling around, just get it near the holster at whatever angle and it’ll stay there.

1 Like

Good tip Jeff, I’ll give the masking tape a try. Have you got a photo of you pocket hive tool?

Hi Brad, if you google “perfect pocket hive tool”, you’ll see lots of images of them. I just saw one on ebay for under $5.00.

PS. The only negative going for it is when you scrape a lot of hard wax, the point can dig into your glove & make a hole if you don’t watch it. This is when I scrape QX’s. It’s best to place them in the sun for a while first to soften the wax. What I’m doing lately is have a clean QX on standby to swap over.


I’d add liquid Benadryl and some Pepcid/Tagamet/Zantac tablets.

1 Like

I’ve never used a Perfect Pocket Hive Tool, but looking at a picture, I’m confused. The hook and the fulcrum are on the same side of the tool, so it seems like you’d be trying to pry the frame up on itself?!



1 Like

I love my PPHT, I wouldn’t leave home without it, even though I have 2 regular hive tools in the cab of my ute.

I see your point (pun!), but it actually works very well. I think the reason is that the “hook” is much longer and has a less acute angle/curve than a traditional J-hook. There is plenty of space on the back of the hook end to lever up a frame against an adjacent frame or hive box wall. I have never had the blade end get in the way of levering up a frame. In fact, I love mine so much that I bought 4 of them. :blush:

Interesting what people take for their inspections.

I travel light and only take the hive tool and smoker. Last time I needed a pencil to mark a frame I swapped. I hope to remember to take one with me on next inspection.

I have one of those horse hair brushes but I don’t like using it. I also have a frame grip, which I think might come useful when I need to take the plastic Flow frames out as the hive tool might break them when prying.

I also have one of those frame holders you hook on the side of the hive, and I hate it - it’s a bit tight and frames tend to get stuck in it. I need three hands to operate it. Hate that thing. But then I also don’t like putting frames on the ground when inspecting, as I fear I’ll kick one.

I like the idea of a magnifying glass though. I will take one with me next time.

1 Like

The best tool I have in my tool box is my camera.
Whilst I am quite young, my eye sight is not what it was. But what my eyes could and will never ever be able to do is magnify. You will be amazed at what you can see when you wack the photos on the computer and just magnify out. Go camera go.


I leave the kitchen sink at home but do take more than I need just in case.
I have done away with the horse hair brush in favor of a battery powered blower as it clears the bees off frames that I am taking for extracting so much faster and less hassles. The bees brushed off tend to want to get back onto the frame, blowing them off they seem to be disorientated and loose interest in the frame.
I use the frame mount where I can and have no issues but when hives are too close together I use an empty box so the frames are off the ground which the bees seem to prefer.
I haven’t had any issues with lifting Flow Frames out of the super but I do it very carefully as there must be a limit in getting them free.
I like the idea of a magnifying glass, my eye sight isn’t what it used to be. I also like @busso 's idea of the camera, I often take mine but it tends to stay in the car.
I always have a jotting pad and pencil and all my hives are numbered so when I get home I can update my computer with info about each hive.

1 Like

I’ll share a tip I got from our venerable Dee in Wales - use the upturned outer cover to rest a top brood box or an empty box (as Peter mentioned) on a slight diagonal to allow plenty of space underneath and avoid crushing bees, for putting frames into as you remove them. This way, if the queen happens to be in the box or frame you’re removing, there’s less risk of losing her if she gets jostled off and drops - she will end up on the cover where you’ll see her.

And, don’t forget the tea towels - eh Dawn?! :wink::+1:


Tea towels are essential! Help to keep the hive calm during inspections, but also useful for sealing up the entrance during an oxalic acid vaporization. :blush:

1 Like

Ok no one asked, so I have to. How do tea towels help keep hives calm?

This is reminding me in the towel, [The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy] which is the most useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have.

1 Like

I never use towels, however I believe people drape a towel over an open hive in the area the beekeeper is not working on. I can see this working well because the towel will mask the increase in co2 the beekeeper is exhaling above the towel, thus not upsetting the bees under the towel.

1 Like