Everything You Need to Start Beekeeping

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I’ve been a beekeeper for 5 years, and here are my equipment essentials for anyone who is looking to start their own apiary. Whether you have one hive or 10, or are a new beekeeper or a seasoned pro, these are tools you’ll need to make your hives buzz. From protective gear, hive equipment, and honey harvesting – these products will help get you started with your first beehive. Beekeeping is a fantastic hobby for you and the ecosystem.

1Ventilated Beekeeping Suit

I have used this Humble Bee beekeeping suit for four years, and it’s truly the best piece of equipment I own. I’ve installed nucs, captured a swarm, and combined hives in this suit and have never been stung. Getting a ventilated suit is a must-have for beekeeping in the hot summer months, so you can breathe fresh air while you work.

2Painted Beehive Kit with Frames

This kit has everything you need to install a new bee colony – it contains two hive boxes (which allows for hive growth over the year), and comes with frames where bees lay brood and store honey. I prefer buying hive kits to individual pieces of equipment as it’s more cost-effective. Painted boxes are also better than plain wooden ones, as they help to keep moisture out of the hive.

3Stainless Steel Hive Tool Set

I always take my hive tools with me when I do hive checks or anytime I am opening up my hives. The tools are great for lifting up frames to do inspections and are especially handy for prying apart hive boxes that may be stuck together with honey. I like this pack, as it has both styles of hive tool: one with a hook, and one with a scraper.

4Double-Layered Gloves

Like my beekeeping suit, I use heavy-duty protective gear for when I am opening up my hives. I love that these gloves have 2 layers of leather for extra protection. I’ve used the same pair of these Foxhound Bee Company gloves for a few years now and have been beyond impressed with the quality and protection.  

5Bee Hive Smoker

Smoking your beehives can be a great way to calm the bees when you are doing extra invasive inspections or heavy duty hive work. The smoke can mask the smell of any “danger” pheromones the bees release, and they will instinctively stay in the hive and start consuming their honey stores. I use my smoker for larger tasks like capturing a swarm or splitting/combining hives.

6Bee Brush

Bee brushes are great for gently sweeping away bees when you are working in the hive. I always bring my bee brush out in the summers when I am inspecting the frames for brood so I can brush away any bees that end up on my equipment, gloves, or suit. The brush has long flexible bristles so it won’t harm any bees as you move them.

7Stainless Steel Honey Strainer

One of the sweet rewards of beekeeping is harvesting honey at the end of a good season. I use this double mesh strainer, which helps to filter out any pieces of beeswax or debris out of the pure honey. The strainer also has arms which expand to fit over different sized bowls or buckets, making the straining process effortless.

8Honey Bucket with Valve

This food-grade honey bucket is the perfect place to store honey when you’re ready to bottle it. The valve on the bottom of the bucket is key: you can control the flow of the honey as you add it to jars or bottles. The valve is mess-free, keeping you (and your work area) from getting into a sticky situation.

Tags: DIY, farming, shop

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Written By

Kelly Jensen

Kelly is a librarian, homesteader, recipe creator, and beekeeper. See Full Bio

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