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You have all missed one make or break item that has been an absolute must have in my beekeeping hobby/career... An understanding spouse.
I say get enough equipment and protective gear to get everyone involved because you won't last long if the boss ain't on board.;)
 

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Heres what I purchased for my 1st yr

I drove down and got the following from Ruhl's. I plan on running two hives in my first yr.

4 hive bodies (unassembled)
4 westerns (unassembled, might not need em all but you never know)
2 screened bottom boards ( entrance reducer included)
2 Queen excluders
2 inner covers
2 telescoping covers
2 hive top feeders, (plastic double sided with wire mesh in the center)
20 deep frames
20 med frames, and yes we figured we counted wrong once we got home.
40 pierco plastic deep foundation
40 pierco plastic med foundation
1 smoker with heat shield
1 pair gloves
1 bee jacket with veil
1 hat with veil (for my kid or visitors)
1 honey B healthy

the total was $625 and about $35 for gas.
The stuff I did not get, hive tool, brush, more gloves and the missing frames are all going on my christmas list.
 

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My beloved is the one encourging me to get back into it.....most likely to get me off the PC and out into the yard:) So the piles of equipment in the garage and all the $$ aren't an issue!:D I have also been putting a bug in her ear about doing it with me...
 

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My recommendation

I would go with all deep supers instead of supers and hive bodies. Going with all deeps allows you to swap equipment around much easier. Supers are also a lot easier to pickup.

Purchase from one place because it will keep shipping down. Dadant is a good place to purchase because they have lots of regional location. To save freight cost call the nearest location to place your order instead of ordering from the web site.

Get an extractor and uncapping knife now. Get the plastic one from Dadant because it is a good value for the money. It won't break the bank like a stainless steel one. It will easily last until you outgrow it.

qty Unit Price Extended price
Screened bottom board 2 $39.95 $79.90
https://www.dadant.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=847

Commercial cover 2 $7.95 $15.90
https://www.dadant.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=186

Queen excluder 2 $11.35 $22.70
https://www.dadant.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=189

Deep supers 8 $9.30 $74.40
https://www.dadant.com/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=23_40&products_id=99

Frames for above supers (case) 1 $67.50 $67.50
https://www.dadant.com/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=23_40&products_id=99

Plastic foundation 80 $0.76 $60.80
https://www.dadant.com/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=23_41&products_id=118

Feeder 2 $17.95 $35.90
http://www.mannlakeltd.com/productdetails.asp?ProdID=FD-110

Hive tool 2 $3.75 $7.50
https://www.dadant.com/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=22_29&products_id=737

Stainless steel smoker 1 $35.95 $35.95
https://www.dadant.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=44

Smoker fuel 5 $2.89 $14.45
https://www.dadant.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=48

Frame grip 1 $14.65 $14.65
https://www.dadant.com/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=22_29&products_id=58

Bee brush 1 $3.95 $3.95
https://www.dadant.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=57

Bee brush 1 $3.95 $3.95
https://www.dadant.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=57

Gloves 1 $9.75 $9.75
https://www.dadant.com/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=34_65&products_id=571

Economy suit 1 $63.75 $63.75
https://www.dadant.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=672

Extractor 1 $115.95 $115.95
https://www.dadant.com/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=35_72&products_id=355

Uncapping knife 1 $93.45 $93.45
https://www.dadant.com/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=35_70&products_id=462

Total $720.45

If you don't want to sweat or get stung, get an Ultra Breeze beekeeping suit from me.:D
 

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If you are given old equipment to use make sure you get someone who knows what they're doing to give it a good sound inspection.

My experience was pretty much opposite that of what you think of when one gives an example in this situation. I inherited a bunch on gear from my Grandfather that ranged from older to really old. My neighbor dropped by when I was going through it all and told me I needed to burn everything because it had AFB! I guess he lost some hives a bunch of years ago and was sure it was AFB that he picked up from my grandfather's colonies. Well after seeing half of my wooden ware go up in smoke (mostly frames) the bee inspector offered to check out what was left. No signs what so ever of AFB and the frames he looked are where the ones that were last used (IE the colonies in question by my neighbor). Bummer...

The inspector remembered looking at my neighbor's colonies after they died. He couldn't say with 100% certainty but he was pretty sure it was mites.

No sense in starting out with a problem, let some one with a trained eye look your equipment over first!

I still scorch the inside of the boxes. It doesn't hurt to play it safe.
 

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Focus: Covers all the basic equipment needed to begin. Type, size, cost, etc.
Beesuit, hive tool, gloves, and a smoker would be the first on the list. It's good to be able to keep bees in comfort and reducing sting, unless bee venom therapy is your thing.

It would be best to start 3 hives. For this you'll need paint, hammer and nails, 3 bottom boards, 6 standard supers w/frames and foundation, 3 inner covers, 3 lids and 3 feeders of your choice (miller feeder would suit the hobbeist best I believe), sugar as needed, and your nucs or packages on order. The hives will probably be fine the first year with this.

The second year you'll need 3 queen excluders, 2 or 3 supers w/frames and foundation for each hive, bee brush, a 2 or 4 frame extractor, uncapping device, strainer, and pails.

Other purchases would be meds, pollen substitute or suppliment, and if bees wax foundation is used, you'll need eyelets, wire, penny nails, and a wire embedder w/embedding board.
 

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I would say sign up for the catalogues and look online. Look at what the people above have suggested. Keep a list somewhere near by for all the times you look at the catalogues or beesource and get an idea. Then find the closest bee supplier to you and drive down. Should you want to wait for december. Brushy mountain usually does free shipping in that month, otherwise its more worth it to go to the nearest place. You will save money in shipping and will get to have a close look at what you are buying.
 

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"Honey, should I buy bees or beer?"

Gets you another hive every time. :shhhh:
If you are a home-brewer and wine-maker, just fire off a batch of Mead...
One sip of the golden ambrosia and your spouse will be hooked!
The Ancient Greeks didn’t call it "Nectar of the Gods" for nothing.
 

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When I teach this segment at our beginning beekeepers school, the first part I like to talk about is the beekeeper's equipment.

The first thing that every beekeeper needs is a decent veil. You don't have to buy an expensive jacket or suit with a built in or zip on veil. But you need a reliable veil to take with you when you visit someone's yard or work your own bees. No matter what anyone says, do not work your bees without it. As you become more knowledgeable and experienced, you can make your own decisions on whether or not you need it. But to start with, you need it. Ballpark cost $25.00.

Second thing you'll need is a smoker. I prefer the bigger ones, since they seem to light easier and stay lit better. Ballpark cost $40.00

Fuel for your smoker can be just about anything that will burn that doesn't give off toxic fumes, but I like to buy the big bale of cedar pet bedding from the local big box store. It burns nicely, smells good and is coveniently packaged. $4.99 for the big bag. It should last you more than a year.

Third thing you have to have is a hive tool. Bees stick everything in a hive together with propolis. You'll need a hive tool. Buy one from a bee supply company for $7. Buy two if you get a good price.

After that, you really don't need any specialized equipment. Protective clothing can be bought at the local thrift store in the form of used/second-hand dockers and dress shirts, and you don't want to wear anything nice. Long pants, long sleeved shirts, yellow rubber dish gloves from the dollar store if you feel you need them. I suggest people wear work shoes. Garden boots. Something to protect your feet from falling hive bodies. You know, just in case you under estimate the weight of a hive body when you go to lift it... :rolleyes:

The thing about protective clothing is this. 99% of us are afraid of bees at the start. If wearing all the gear will make you more at ease, then by all means, go for it. This is going to be your hobby. You need to enjoy it.
 

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Re: b) First equipment & supplies to obtain

If you do decide on a full suit I suggest one size larger than your shirt size,don't make the same mistake i did.And now I can barely bend down to set down or pickup a hive or frames. Man forbid I ever drop my hive tool. I like that technique best one i've heard in a while.The Buy Beer or Beehives Honey.
 

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Re: b) First equipment & supplies to obtain

Boxes are really pretty easy to build, frames not really difficult either. Those are both great things to work on over the winter. Depending on your local lumber yard, you can buy white pine boards ( I only build mediums ) 1x8x8 can run between 5 to 7.50 per board. 1 board will build a whole box. when you consider the cost of buying unassembled or otherwise plus shipping, you can likely save up to 75% off of buying these items.

after building my own boxes and frames, I tend to buy outer lids ( I don't succeed at metal working) queen excluder and screened bottom.

I also recommend a hat/veil, especially if you have longer hair. Bees WILL get caught in your hair and they don't like it. trust me on this.

If you ave the money to buy all your equipment, it must be nice. But, I think you will begin to appreciate the hives more and get a better understanding of your hives if you make as many of these things as you can on your own. Plus, you know exactly whats in your equipment and you might even save some $

Big Bear
 

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Re: b) First equipment & supplies to obtain

Great thread. Validated some of my decisions and explained some of my mistakes. Thanks to everyone who shared and explained their ideas.
I was lucky enough to be given some clean equipment which kept costs down, but I had some of the same concerns expressed - an experienced keeper looked over my stuff and told me what to keep and what to sterilize, and what wasn't worth bothering with;burn it.
Paul
 

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Re: b) First equipment & supplies to obtain

I started my two top bar hives for $242.00. A jacket with veil from Simpsons.
at www.simpsonsbeesupply.com.. The owner is a quadraplegic and his wife fills and ships the orders... timely and very nice people.
I did not buy a smoker and have never used one. No chemicals or antibiotics and the bees are very healthy. I use an old serrated bread knife as a tool and did buy a brush from Simpsons. Two hives and complete equipment for summmer= < $300.00. (www.customwoodkits.com) For those of you that are handy, they are easy to build and you could start much cheaper than that, using recycled wood.
I have been having a blast keeping these bees and anticipate my first honey next week, using the crush and strain method.
Top bar hives are lest costly, and less work, fun and suits my lifestyle. I did do this with no local mentor and no previous beekeeping experience. Joey at Custom Woodkits in Ga has mentored me via phone and internet, and now I am finding more people raising bees locally with the top bar hive. Its so easy its beautiful!!!
 

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Re: b) First equipment & supplies to obtain

My brother inLaw is a tin bender/HVAC. boss so I get my tin cheap as it is scrapp so I get it for scrapp price.built my first outer cover last week. Turned out ok for a first timer I think, of course I built it wouldn't want to say anything bad about myself y'know. Oh got my suit from dadant very nice combo like i said before tight though, should have ordered a size bigger than i wear.Thats ok wouldn't hurt me to loose a few pounds.
 

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Re: b) First equipment & supplies to obtain

For Warré vTBH beekeeping, download and read Abbé Warré's Beekeeping for All (L'Apiculture pour tous - 12ème édition si vous parlez français).

Get kitted up:
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3-4 four-box Warré hives w/ bases, boxes, spare top bars & top cloths, quilt-boxes, roofs
bee suit or veil, rubber boots, bee gloves
smoker, burlap fuel & lighters
2x hive tools
2' Length of piano wire or tempered SS wire, on handles, for severing the odd bridge comb between boxes
10" carving knife for cutting comb attachments
small pen knife for comb cutting
soft closed-cell foam gardener's pad for kneeling
spearmint/peppermint breath mints or chewing gum to mask breath & confuse hive defenders

and optionally/later:
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duct tape
twine
honey press w/ fruit pressing bags
coarse and fine strainers
5-gallon buckets w/ honey gates
spray bottle filled with 1:1 white sugar syrup

Obtain package bees from local beekeeping club, learn the most common installation techniques.
 

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Re: b) First equipment & supplies to obtain

I've found the ABC and XYZ of Beekeeping book for a wide variety of prices from $5 to $45 depending on the publication date... Is there a big difference between the 1960 or so version vs the 2007 version?

I'd like to add this to my bee 'library' but would hate to get something with outdated information.

Larry
 

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Re: b) First equipment & supplies to obtain

After doing a bit of searching, I found the ABC XYZ of Beekeeping book is no longer copyrited... In fact, the Smithsonian scanned and uploaded the entire book here, downloadable for free. The book is 598 pages long and is the 1910 version:
http://www.archive.org/details/abcxyzofbeecultu00root

You can get a PDF or text of the book, read it online, or download it to your Kindle.

Larry

----------snip------------------------

The ABC and XYZ of bee culture; a cyclopedia of everything pertaining to the care of the honey-bee; bees, hives, honey, implements, honey-plants, etc. .. (1910)


Author: Root, A. I. (Amos Ives), 1839-1923; Root, E. R. (Ernest Rob), 1862-1953
Subject: Bees
Publisher: Medina, Ohio, The A.I. Root Company
Possible copyright status: NOT_IN_COPYRIGHT
Language: English
Call number: 39088002118610
Digitizing sponsor: Smithsonian
Book contributor: Smithsonian Institution Libraries
Collection: biodiversity
Scanfactors: 49
 

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Re: b) First equipment & supplies to obtain

Hi Larry, and welcome!

Get the newest ABC's... with all the changes in the last 20 years, you owe it to yourself. Also I'd suggest the latest edition of "The Hive and the Honey Bee" as well. Now, what is interesting, is as time and funds allow, get earlier editions, because looking at the pictures as well as reading the articles is fun!

In addition, of course, as you've already discovered, read these forums! :applause:
Regards,
Steven
 
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