They say it’s better to give than to receive. Well, that depends on the gift.
As a beekeeper, I can tell you that finding something our kind would treasure isn’t as complicated as it would seem.
With time, we can become a little obsessed with our little six-legged friends and our lives and actions revolve around whatever we think is good for them.
Even though we don’t name them as you would a puppy, we sure do love them.
So naturally, if you want to show your appreciation for your favorite beekeeper, get something that speaks to the bee. Still not clear?
Right then, let’s go through a few perfect gifts for beekeepers that are sure to make your beekeeper friend buzz with joy.
In a hurry or just plain curious?
Essential Gifts for Beekeepers
Every beekeeper, both novices and experts like use a bee suit, smoker, and a hive tool like this.
The hive tool is a little crowbar that beekeepers use to pry open the hive and breaks the seal of sticky propolis which bees use to fill in any gaps they find in the hive.
Any beekeeper will tell you that they’ve had to replace their hive tool at least a couple of times.
The smoker and suit are pretty difficult to misplace, and though they are welcome, the first and easiest gift to get your local beekeeper is a hive tool.
Books and Magazines
Beekeeping is a vocation. It’s a calling that allows one to learn so much about these beautiful little helpers year after year.
Every day a scientist or a beekeeper discovers something new about honeybees so beekeepers are always seeking to update themselves on new information or verify basic facts.
With books, there’s something for everyone at any stage of beekeeping.
For the amateur/newbie, ‘Beekeeping for Dummies’ by Howland Blackiston will be the first in their collection.
If you know someone who has been hinting at owning a hive or two, this gift will keep on giving.
If the apiarist in question is more experienced, then ‘Honeybee Democracy’ by Thomas D Seeley will be the way to go.
That contains more information on the biology of the bee and is useful in understanding bee behavior.
If they have a substantial collection, try a subscription to the American bee journal and/or Bee culture magazine.
You may need to do a little spying to make sure you don’t get them a copy of something they already own.
Experienced Beekeeper Gifts
Beekeepers do their best to keep bees from swarming and moving away. Even so, sometimes nature refuses to cooperate.
If you get your timings wrong, the colony will split and the old queen will be out the door with more than a third of the workforce.
It’s a beautiful phenomenon to witness unless you’re the one losing the bees.
Fortunately, all hope is not lost. With a bait hive/swarm trap and a swarm lure, the beekeeper can get to keep the newly formed colony.
Swarm lures are not created equal, and the master has to be the swarm commander.
The swarm commander mimics the scent of a pheromone secreted by scout bees when they find a new place to call home. As beekeepers grow, buying package bees each time can be very expensive.
If you can help your friend catch a swarm for free, that could save him/her a pretty penny and the swarm commander is very effective in attracting swarms. Your beekeeper will never tire of this gift.
Beekeeping is a very manual job. Even though we live in an age of spreadsheets and automated applications, many beekeepers will prefer to put pen to paper to monitor the hive’s progress on a day to day basis.
Why this journal? Why would your favorite beekeeper favor this one over any old notebook?
Well, this journal, which is by Kim Flotum, a well-respected author of ‘The Backyard Beekeeper’ provides helpful tips and pictures that help to guide your record keeping and capture any beekeeping lessons learned in practice.
Every season the bees will do something that the beekeeper will find noteworthy, either for memory or to look up and investigate.
This journal just makes the beekeeping journey more colorful and fun. This one belongs on the good side of Santa’s list.
Beeswax craft books
Most hobbyists keep bees for the love of nature, and enjoy the golden syrup as a sufficient trade-off for their time.
If you have top-bar hives or prefer the crushing method of extracting honey, then you may have some bits of wax left over after the harvest.
So what is a beekeeper to do? Petra Ahnert, author of ‘Beeswax Alchemy’ provides the beekeeper/wax enthusiast with a vast choice of products that you can make in your home.
A gift like this could have a boomerang effect. The giftee will always want to show the gifter (that’s you), that they are putting the book to good use.
So make room in your bathroom for the scented candles that will be coming your way once the harvest is done.
Homemade chap-stick is likely to find itself in your purse among lots of thoughtful gifts that your beekeeper will send your way.
Beekeeping is quite the art in itself, so crafts of this nature aren’t much of a stretch for your enthusiastic apiarist.
Queen rearing kit
In the beginning, a beekeeper relies on package bees, which are expensive long term.
As one gains more experience, beekeepers come to understand that some bees perform better and thrive more in your area than others.
These genetic traits are valuable to a beekeeper, and it will be in the interest of the beekeeper to have more colonies carrying these traits.
Rather than take a risk and purchase a queen whose performance is not guaranteed, they can choose and raise a queen from an existing colony that has shown that it not only survives in that environment, but it thrives as well.
It’s almost like picking Kenyan genes for a long distance runner.
Queen rearing can be daunting at first, but beekeepers grow into it and with a little experience cannot fathom why they didn’t get to it earlier.
As we know, the first step is the hardest, which is where you come in. A good queen rearing kit is a gift that is easy on the pocket and will nudge your favorite beekeeper in the right direction.
Once they get the hang of it, they’ll keep thanking you every time they set up a new thriving colony.
Bee branded merchandise (T-shirts, mugs, and caps)
Since we can’t go about in our hazmat suits all day, we need something to wear to the grocery store.
Although beekeepers come in different shapes, sizes and personalities, the one thing we have in common is that we are proud of those girls. There’s a wide variety of t-shirts to choose from.
Some just announce loud and proud what the wearer is, others have a twist of humor to the wording.
They come in different sizes and styles so you will definitely get something that fits your intended receiver.
My favorite is the ‘Beekeeper: because freakin’ awesome is not an official job title’ t-shirt. I might just gift that to myself.
The mugs are a great gift because it doesn’t matter how many mugs you own, you always have a favorite. What makes it your favorite has little to do with its function. It boils down to sentimental value.
What would a beekeeper love more than a daily acknowledgment of the noble work they do from their morning cup of coffee? I can’t think of anything.
Waking up to “Bee Happy” every day is a great life affirmation, wouldn’t you say?
Since beekeepers are outdoor people, you can’t go wrong with a cap.
I’m partial to the ‘save the bees’ cap. It comes in different colors and designs so you will be spoilt for choice. The message is clear and any beekeeper will be proud to sport it.
I know what you’re thinking. Surely a beekeeper would own a honey pot like this, wouldn’t they? Probably not.
They usually use a regular old mason jar. They display it proudly because the contents are the result of a labor of love.
It wouldn’t occur to them to dress up the honey and give it the display case it requires. That’s where you come in.
A honey pot with a matching dipper would make for the perfect gift.
First of all, you know they’ll use it so it’s definitely not getting returned or re-gifted. Second, they’ll think of you every time they’ll fill it up.
Unlike the Mason jar that is likely to reside in the kitchen, this item may make its permanent home in the center of the dining table. It would make the perfect centerpiece and it’s pretty easy to find out if your intended giftee owns one.
Once again, our pride betrays us. Get us bee branded parking signs, office signs and even ‘No Spray’ signs and we’ll perform the happiest waggle dance you ever did see.
The signs can be witty and humorous, or just plain informative. For instance, the ‘No spray sign’ would remind neighbors to avoid spraying noxious chemicals, particularly during the day.
The assumption here is that you have neighbors that have an active conscience, and maybe even an appreciation for honey bees.
The humorous signs just liven up the place so I’m sure they’ll be put up before the wrapping paper is put away.
Pollinator garden seeds and plants
Once you become a beekeeper, you need to sprinkle your life with a little botany and entomology.
As a result, you’ll want to create a little haven for pollinators of all kinds in your garden. The wildflower seed mix is a favorite in this category.
Since the bees don’t need our undivided attention on a day to day basis, any beekeeper will find the spring gardening activities stress relieving and rewarding once the plants are fully established.
Watch your bees forage on the flowers and see if you can tell if they have any preferences.
This is also a great teaching tool for kids, not just about honeybees but all sorts of pollinators as well.
The garden will play host to a wide array of butterflies and solitary bee species. Children can be taught about plants, what their needs are and instill a true appreciation for nature.
These are lessons they will carry for many years to come and hopefully pass the same down to future generations.
Essential oils and supplements
As your beekeeper prepares for the winter and subsequent spring, feeding the bees sometimes becomes a necessity.
If there wasn’t enough nectar to build up the stores during the fall, then it’s up to the beekeepers to fill in the gap.
Although sugar syrup isn’t as healthy as honey, it’s definitely safer if you cannot verify that the honey you have is completely disease free.
This supplementary feed can be fortified with essential oils and supplements.
The oils help to direct the bees to the exact location of the food and supplements such as honey b healthy help to provide essential vitamins and minerals until nature is able to provide the bees with nectar.
Different colonies have different eating habits and the beekeeper is definitely going to have to put the essential oils to use, particularly before the flowers bloom in the spring.
It’s also very useful during a nectar dearth which sometimes occurs in the summer.
Depending on the weather, the bees may be unable to collect enough nectar to see them through the flowerless period.
Since a drop or two is needed at a time, your gift will serve the beekeeper for many months, possibly years.
A Helping Hand
They say the best gift you can give someone is yourself. This is definitely true in the beekeeping world.
An extra set of hands is always welcome. Hive inspection and harvesting are both manual jobs with no short cuts.
If you want to make it fun, draw a couple of redeemable coupons where they can call on you for muscle. It will bring you closer together and who knows, it may make a beekeeper out of you.
So there you have it! There are the best gifts for beekeepers that are sure to put a smile on any beekeepers face.