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Beekeeping Equipment & Supplies-Choosing the Best

Beginner beekeepers are faced with some hefty start up costs. You need things for the bees and you need things for the beekeeper. Sorting out which types of beekeeping supplies & equipment you really need can be quite a chore. The good news is you don’t need everything at once. Let’s sift through the wants and needs of various beekeeper supplies.

Beekeeper with hive and tool equipment image.

Essential Beekeeping Supplies You Really Need

Buying equipment for your bees will most likely set you back several hundred dollars the first couple of years.

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In addition to the expense of these needed supplies, is the frustration of being unsure of what you really should buy.

Basic beehive setups for your new arrivals are not the only things you need to acquire. With proper care, your new colonies will grow requiring additional bee boxes. It is always advisable to have some extra equipment on hand as well.

Add to these considerations the fact that the world of beekeeping involves a lot of opinions and it can leave a new beekeeper unsure of how to proceed. There is not always just 1 answer to a question.

Equipment Needed for Your Bees

If your budget is tight, start with the basics. You can always buy more fun beekeeping gadgets next year. But, your bees must have somewhere to live when they arrive – don’t delay!

If you are considering buying a beekeepers kit, look over the pieces closely…. sometimes you get things you don’t really need. Still a kit can be a good deal if it contains items you will really use.

Fancy type of beehive on a stand in an apiary image.

Which Type of Beehive Should You Get?

There are several different types of beehives in use. Worldwide you can see some rather interesting styles.

Each style or type of beehive has advantages and challenges. Which is best for you depends on several factors including your location and beekeeping goals.

The Langstroth hive is the most common hive for beginners. This is the iconic hive style you have likely seen in pictures. Boxes are stack on top of each other to give the bees a home and make honey for the beekeeper.

However, you can be successful with any kind of hive – if you manage your colonies well.

To get the most out of your beekeeping experience, you need to know your equipment. Learn the basic parts of the your beehive and understand their function before your bees arrive.

When you want to ask other beekeepers for advice, things will go much easier if you know the names of your equipment.

Even after choosing a type of hive such as the Langstroth, there are more issues to consider. Hive bottom boards come in several styles both with and without trays. Which is the best type of bottom board for your beehive?

Other types of beekeeping equipment are the subject of controversy. A simple example is the Queen Excluder. Beekeepers tend to have strong opinions on their use.

Some beekeepers swear by them and others swear at them. Will you use a queen excluder on your hive? I generally do but you have the choice.

Foundation is the material that goes into the wooden frames of our your. Most beekeepers use with wax or plastic foundation.

Though you certainly can after the comb is drawn out, it is generally better to avoid mixing types of foundation in the hive.

Each type has benefits and disadvantages. I prefer beeswax personally but it is more trouble to install beeswax foundation into frames.

Older used beehives and other equipment in storage image.

Buying Used Equipment for Beekeeping

Is buying used beekeeping equipment a great way to save money? Yes perhaps. But there are many risks in purchasing equipment that has been used by bees.

New beekeepers are tempted to by the opportunity to cut costs. However old equipment can contain disease that will wipe out your new colonies.

How to Build Your Own Beehives

Would you like to build your own beehive? With a little woodworking skill and some good bee hive plans, it’s possible. But, be sure to follow the directions carefully or you won’t be a happy beekeeper.

But before you rush off to the store to buy wood for this special project, take some time to evaluate your reasons for wanting to build your own bee boxes! With the cost of lumber, you may not save any money.

Spacing inside a beehive is very important. Make sure you follow all the important aspects of hive construction. Learn how to build a beehive of your own without getting into big trouble.

Painting Beehives

Bees don’t really care what color their hive is painted. Beekeepers paint hives to prolong the life of the wooden parts. And yes, we want the hives to either look really outstanding or blend into the surroundings.

However you decide to paint a beehive, be sure to get the job done well before bees arrive. Your equipment should air out a few weeks before bees are added.

Perhaps you want to have a spectacular painted bee hive but lack a lot of artistic talent? Yes, I just raised my hand.

No fear, there are many ways to achieve your goals of a colorful bee hive design. Templates and design aids make creative painted bee hive for non artist beekeepers.

Hives and bee smoker tool for use by beekeeper image.

Beekeeper Tools

The bee smoker is the #1 tool for a new beekeeper. When used properly, the cool white smoke makes hive inspections easier for you and the bees. Yearly cleaning of your smoker will keep it functioning well.

Once you have chosen a good smoker it’s time to think about fuel. Yes, you need something to burn in there that will not hurt your bees. Be sure to research the various types of smoker fuel.

Its a good idea to experiment with various types of material to burn. Once you find the best one for you, lighting your smoker becomes much easier.

Every beekeeper needs some safety gear or beekeeper clothing. There are many options to choose from.

Learn the facts you need to know about choosing beekeeping clothing and protective wear . There are many different styles and options to consider.

Ok, maybe you just want a good beekeeping suit. Beekeeping suits come in many different styles, colors and quality grades. Here are some tips to help you find the very best – beekeeping suit.

And of course, it will be important to periodically wash your beekeeping suit to prolong its life. Bees are not fond of stinky beekeepers.

Tools and Supplies for the Bee Yard

As you plan to set up your hives, you must consider protection. Beehives are valuable and people will steal them. If theft is a concern, place hives where they can be watched or are difficult to access.

In addition, if you live in a region that has bear – build an electric bear fence. Most beekeepers have no idea they have a bear problem until one destroys their hives.

After choosing the best location for your beehives, it is time to decide how you will set them up. In the beginning, your bees will start off in a single box. What will you place your wooden hives on?

Using hive stands in your apiary is a great idea too. Elevating the hives off the ground helps protect them from skunks other small predators. Your back will thank you too due to not having to bend down so far.

Many beekeepers choose to keep the ground under the beehives free of tall weeds or grass.

Storing Beekeeping Equipment in Winter

A beekeeper accumulates many pieces of beekeeping equipment. Some of your boxes will not be on the hive during Winter.

Those boxes or supers containing drawn comb need special attention to prevent damage during storage. Learning how to store honey supers during winter is a task that will face the second year beekeeper if not the first.

Of course, it is not just your honey supers that you must have room to store. Other various pieces of supplies and equipment must have a place to be when not in use. Find a place to store beekeeping equipment that will be out of the way until needed.

A Final Word About Beekeeping Supplies and Equipment

All beekeepers end up some some items that they will never use. These gadgets take the beekeeping world by storm. Many will be forgotten in the next few years.

However, basic hive components, protective wear and the old standard smoker and hive tool have stood the test of time. Choose those that appeal to you and your style of beekeeping.

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