The Uptown Hives with fresh supers and upper entrances

Equipment You Need to Begin Beekeeping

Getting started beekeeping is not cheap. And amazingly, it’s hard to find a textbook with a simple list inside of all the essential items you need to purchase, borrow, or make to get going.

 

I have a friend who is in the process of getting started with beekeeping, and since I’m writing up some lists for him, I thought I’d post those lists here for anyone else who is interested.

Feel free to add your comments on essentials that you include that are missing from the lists, or anything else you think of.

Most of my 8-frame vertical hives have:

  1. a bottom board (I use screened)
  2. a deep super for the brood box with 8 deep frames and 8 wired wax foundations
  3. at least 3 shallow supers (with 8 shallow frames + wired wax foundations each) for each hive
  4. an inner cover
  5. an outer (or “telescoping”) cover
  6. a queen excluder
  7. a robber screen

*To assemble your frames you’ll need the right sized nails, wood glue, plus a heavy-duty staple gun with half-inch staples (for stapling in the cleat).

*You’ll also want to paint the outside of your hives with an exterior acrylic paint. Don’t forget your paintbrushes!

Equipment you need for feeding bees (in spring and fall):

  1. one gallon feeder pails
  2. an empty deep super to go over the feeder pails
  3. a food-grade 5 gallon bucket to mix all your feed

*You really only need pure cane sugar and water to mix your feed, but I often add organic spearmint and/or lemongrass oils, and if I think the bees won’t drink it fast enough, some lemon juice to prevent mold.

Posts that might help:

Equipment for harvesting honey (you can borrow some of this; local clubs pass items around):

  1. plastic bee escapes (you insert them into an inner cover)
  2. extractor (electric or hand spinner)
  3. hot knife (decapping knife)
  4. scratcher
  5. misc food-grade plastic bins
  6. food grade 5 gallon buckets, one with a honey gate
  7. double-mesh strainer
  8. paint strainer bags for cleaning wax
  9. a dedicated pan for wax reclaiming wax
  10. jars or bottles for storing honey

Posts that might help:

Equipment for beehives for the colder season:

  1. moisture quilt boxes (I made mine)
  2. candy/sugar/feeding trays (I made mine)
  3. hive wrap (if desired)

Posts that might help:

Beekeeper clothes & equipment:

  1. bee smoker (I use 100% cotton old jeans or cloth to burn, as well as pine cones/needles and dry pine twigs)
  2. lighter for the smoker (I use my propane torch)
  3. hive tool (two of them is good)
  4. hat + veil, long sleeved white button-down shirt (to go over your actual shirt)
  5. long gloves, white or bright colors only. Bees don’t like anything bear- or skunk-colored (dark brown/black).
  6. frame hanger (handy but not 100% necessary)
  7. bee brush (I rarely use mine, the bees hate it)

Don’t forget the cost of your starter bee colonies

  1. a box of bees may cost around $125 each
  2. a nuc of bees (includes the frames and stores) may cost around $175 each
  3. a new queen, if yours dies, is about $25 – $50 (or more, depending on how exotic/new and where she has to be shipped from)

There are also a few things you’ll need if you treat your bees, or move your bees to a new location, or build a solar electric fence for your beeyard, and there are always new items being created to tempt beekeepers new and old. You could spend a fortune on beekeeping equipment without much effort.

But this is the main stuff I’ve used since I started beekeeping in 2017, although I am now transitioning to horizontal hives. Good luck with your beekeeping ventures!

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