1: A Bee Suit.
- Get a high quality suit! Don’t skimp on this one. You’ll only need to buy one of these and chances are it will last the rest of your life, so get a good one. Cotton/Poly blends are the most common and work great.
- Choose the right helmet/veil combination. There are lots of styles and options, so take your time and choose the one you think you will like best. My personal preference is the Plastic Sun Hat/Veil combo.
- Make sure it fits a little roomy. Many beekeepers like to wear a layer of long pants and log sleeves under their suit for extra sting protection, and if it gets cold where you live you may want to bundle up under your suit.
2: Beekeeping Gloves.
Glove choice is absolutely key to your comfort while working on your hive. All beekeeping gloves are not created equal, so this is another item you’re not gonna want to skimp on.
- Make sure the gloves you choose have a nice long gauntlet (the part that covers your wrists) and elastic openings to keep the bees out. The rubber dipped cotton/poly gloves are harder to work in and will make your hands stink like mold after only a few uses.
- Pay attention to the size. You want your gloves to be snug, but not tight, for maximum dexterity.
3: Bee Hive Smoker.
This is one of the bee keeping supplies you will use to pump a small amount of smoke into the hive to calm down the bees.
- Get the nice stainless steel one so you know it will last.
- Don’t forget the smoker starter pellets to help you easily and safely get your smoker started.
4. The Hive tool.
There are many variations of this tool, but they all do basically the same thing. Help you separate the hive boxes and remove the comb from the hive. This is probable the most basic of the beekeeping supplies described in this article.
- Make sure you get one long enough for your hive configuration. I like the 10-1/2 inch size.
- You may want to just buy two of these. They are pretty inexpensive and you will use them all the time.
5. A Good Beekeeping Book.
6: Starter Bee Hive Kit.
Many companies make these kits and they are readily available. Here are a few things to look for:
- Make sure the boxes in your kit are stackable (modular)
- Make sure you buy from a manufacturer that makes more boxes that you can add on to your hive in the future.
- You only need one box or hive body, but chances once your bees get established you will want more so you can harvest more honey.
- My favorite brand is Mann Lake. Their stuff is well made and they are a well-established company, so you can be sure you’ll be able to buy compatible boxes in the future.
- The best way to get bees is to intercept a colony of bees that have left their hive in search of a new home. Unfortunately this can be difficult to find, and requires expertise most beginner bee keepers just don’t have.
- The next best solution is to contact a local beekeeper and ask them to sell (or give) you a nucleus of bees. This way you get bees that are acclimated to your climate and local ecosystem. Plus, you’ll be able to pick that beekeeper’s brain for tips and tricks of the trade. Make sure you get a queen too.
- The last way to get bees is to buy them mail order. There are a few companies out there that produce hundreds of nucs and queens every year to sell to home and commercial beekeepers. Just google “live bees by mail” and you’ll find a few good options.
Extra savvy shoppers will want to buy all of their beekeeping supplies in one kit available from a few vendors. You’ll save money buying everything at once and you’ll save time by not having to shop all over the web. Just make sure the kit you buy has all the right stuff, and if it doesn’t, ask the vendor if they make substitutions.