Apart from a box of bees there are three pieces of beekeeping equipment everyone needs.

These are: a beekeeping suit, smoker to calm the bees and the bee hive skeleton key - the hive tool.

Like the fisherman’s rod or painters brush, the hive tool is the most intimate of tools.  Everyone has their own preferences: weight, size and pattern. With the right combination a deep attachment to the perfect hive tool develops.

Recently I found my first and most loved hive tool which I thought lost to me.

I almost embarrassed to say how happy finding it made me.  The dopey grin on my face during trip back to my house the day I found it is likely to have scared any small children that spotted me.

As soon as I got home I placed my beloved into the dishwasher. Now good as new I’ve been fondling it ever since. Still with the same silly grin. Imagine a chubby Gollum with a yellow hive tool and you will have nailed the picture I’m trying to paint here.

At this point I’m sure you’re wondering why I didn’t just order a replacement hive tool of the same model?

Well. I have a beekeeping equipment addiction spending hours ogling the array of hive tools. There is marvellous variety and many to try out

It’s one of my many guilty pleasures; I’m sure you understand.

Like Goldilocks looking for her perfect bowl of porridge here is my path to perfection.

Too thin:

thin hive tool

This tool was just too thin

I bought this hive tool because it looked almost identical to my original tool. The handle was too thin and uncomfortable during twisting motions to crack the seal on boxes.

Wrong pattern:

traditional beekeeping hive tool

this tool was the wrong pattern

Many of my fellow beekeepers use the traditional British hive tool. It has a concaved handed and crowbar type design. During manipulations I missed the handy J hook to lever out those frames.

Too heavy:

heavy duty hive tool

too heavy

This is the heavyweight version of my favourite hive tool. It shouldn’t have surprised me to find it a tiny bit too heavy.

Just right:

my perfect hive tool

this one was just right!

This Taylor Eye Witness hive tool has the J pattern I like, a comfortable handle and is light in the hand.

When it comes to hive tools, what is the love of your life?