I started last year with a starter hive from Brushy Mountain and a package
that pretty well did it
most folks here will advise against the "starter kit", I agree (hindsight is 20/20)
it's kinda cheap stuff to keep the price down
you need a hive, a smoker, and a veil, that'll get you going
you're gonna want some gloves, old ones from around the house will do for starters
their starter hive is all assembled which is nice but it's not what I'd do (it's what I did, but not if I did it again)
buy the boxes and frames and assemble them yourself, you have all winter
get some small cell wax, it only cost a little more and there are a lot of folks who think it helps a lot with the v-mites (I'm falling into that camp)
a hive, some bees and a little stuff to protect yourself and you're good to go, the bees are pretty docile when you first start them out
after you get them going you'll want all kinds of other stuff, but at the beginning you won't need it, just enjoy the moment
considering where you live I'd get packages from BM and pick them up
when I was there Steve did some package installations as a demo for beginners which helped a lot
good luck, and this crowd here is a great resource for all your questions
 Michael Bush had an excellent post last winter or spring about what he'd do if he were starting over, I'll look for it, or maybe somebody else will post the link
Dave I'm sorry I should have put this is my first spring with two established hives.
I agree with with you on what advice you gave me I got my two packages from Kelleys and they have done good so far.I have gone to small cell on what I've read here on this forum.it's great to have mentors from all over the USA at A mouse click.
you need an extractor and 10 cases of jars
probably a honey settling tank
maybe a Ford F-450 to haul bees from the front yard to the backyard
and a whole long list of other toys
good thing it's Christmas ain't it??
Boxes! Bottom boards! covers! Frames! foundation - no screw that, starter strips (running out of time)
Holy healthy bees expanding!
I went from two hives to 11 plus two nucs (last year about this time I ordered two more packages because I wanted a couple more hives - the rest came from my own swarms and splits) Busier than a one armed paper hanger...
Labels, jars, candle molds.
Honestly, the most precious thing around this household is jars that fit the feeders (boardman) and good jars for top feeders. Need to eat more mayonaise (bardmans) and pickles (top)
I don't like my big top feeders.
OK...ALL this is good advice. Here's some of mine and I'll let the fine folks here judge my input.
- Don't go overboard on stuff that you're not sure you're going to need. But, make sure the stuff you get is quality material and that you know what it's going to be used for and how to use it.
- Listen to what other keepers have to say...all of them. Collective knowledge is better than a single point of view. In the end, it's easier to select one or two approaches from a body of knowledge than it is to try one thing after another and hoping for the best.
- Bees have been beekeeping longer than we have. Watch what they do close up and from far away. They are part of a much bigger picture that you can't readily see. Not a minute is wasted while sitting in front of the hive watching and learning. Not a minute.
- You're going to make mistakes. I think you're supposed to because no one I've ever talked to has skipped that part. So, post your issues here when they come up, even if you mess up. No one here will respond with "Duh...what were you thinking????". You're more likely to get..."Hey Kenr...here's what I think....".
- Slow down. I mean...slow down. I have a real hard time with that. I bought a jacket with zip off veil (which I love) because I was getting stung using just a veil. Turns out, I was just moving like you got extra points for speed. Slow down. You'll see more like that which translates to knowledge.
- Seek out local beekeepers and at least introduce yourself if you can. Clubs, etc., are pools of knowledge. The best part is that they can help you figure out when nectar is flowing, what problems they are having, etc. Plus, friendships are valuable.
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