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First Equipment and Supplies

It’s a good idea to request a catalog from all of the major suppliers: Dadant, W.T. Kelley, Brushy Mountain, Mannlake, Betterbee, Miller Bee Supply, and Rossman Apiaries. Also, be sure to calculate shipping costs into the mix – some beekeepers who are handy with tools will order supplies for one hive, and use that hive as a template for building others themselves.

List of First Beekeeping Equipment and Supplies

  • Instruction manual: First Lessons in Beekeeping by C.P. Dadant
  • Telescoping covers and inner covers for the roof and ceiling of the hive
  • Screened Bottom Board (IPM), for the floor of the hive
  • Entrance Reducer, which reduces the size of the front door until the bees are established and able to defend their colony with a full-sized entrance
  • Medium Supers (5 each), for the walls of the hive
  • Medium Frames (50 each), which are like rooms within the hive. They will hold the comb. One sheet per frame is normally used. Many people buy more frames than initially needed, which saves money on shipping future purchases.
  • Small Cell Foundation (IPM), which provides a template for the bees to build comb. One sheet per frame.
  • Feeder – it’s necessary to feed sugar water to a colony to assist it in establishing itself.
  • Smoker – it’s a good practice to use smoke when you inspect your bees. Smoke calms and disorients the bees, making them a lot easier to work with.
  • Hive Tool – it won’t be necessary in the beginning, but as the bees establish the hive and propolize, the tool assists in separating the components.
  • Protective clothing – A veil is the minimum protection required when working with bees. There are some good jacket/veil options. It is also highly suggested that you wear bib overalls while you work. For the best protection, a veil and coveralls is the way to go.
  • Gloves – many suggest starting without gloves and/or transitioning away from using them, but they’re handy nonetheless. Non-ventilated gloves are preferred, as you can get stung through the screen of the ventilated ones. Large, thick pigskin and sleeved rubber beekeeping gloves are best.
  • Nucs: A “nuc” or nuc box, is a smaller version of a normal hive designed to hold fewer frames. It is intended to contain a smaller number of bees, and a smaller space makes it easier for the bees to manage the temperature and humidity of the colony, which is vital for brood rearing.
  • Additional nice-to-haves – frame perch, frame grip
  • Warnings – don’t use Typar weed blocker, as the bees try to eat it and can’t. Also, it is very easy to spend too much. Study up, shop around, and make your purchases frugally.