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Forklifts, which carry honey boxes professionally, are causing a stir

Beekeeping, a hobby for some and big business for others, is an activity reserved for the few who are willing to take the responsibility and risk of caring for this fragile (and potentially dangerous) creature. Today, most modern beekeepers rely on a method of beekeeping that utilizes removable frame hives. After the bees have built the hive in the frame, the beekeeper can easily remove them to inspect and manage the bees and the hive. Commercial beekeepers who profit from the sale of honey or beeswax will manage 1,000-3,000 hives a year. It’s a particularly tedious job, and surprisingly, it requires the use of specialized Detroit forklifts to move the framed hives to various locations in the apiary.

In the 1980s, Dean Voss, a professional beekeeper who had worked in Edmore, Mich., for more than 30 years, was eager to find an easier way to transport his bees. Voss created his first prototype beekeeping forklift by modifying a miniature wheel loader. He used this type of construction equipment because it was able to travel over rough terrain without bumping the front fork and driver. Necessity is indeed the mother of invention, and Voss continued to modify forklifts and sell them to beekeepers for the next 20 years.

After entering an untapped corner of the market, Voss finally decided to retire from beekeeping and devote his time to the design of his professional forklift. In 2006, he was granted a patent for a beekeeping forklift truck and the Hummerbee® brand was born.

Today, there are two major brands that dominate the U.S. market: Hummerbee® and Donkey®. Forklifts to move apiary hives must be small and easy to operate, with articulated steering, swinging frame and high lifting capacity. All-terrain tires, four-wheel drive and better suspension allow beekeepers to ride smoothly over rough grass. These features are designed to prevent a lot of damage to hives when they move. Models even include high stretch capabilities, extra lighting, all red lighting for clam bees, a white steering wheel that deters loose bees from the driver’s hand, and an ultra-high load back that provides greater stability.

Whether used in warehouses, construction sites or apiaries, forklifts are among the most versatile machines available today.

Post time: Apr-10-2023