Equipment

Overview

BEFORE you get your bees, you’re going to need some gear, and do some setup. The following is a list of MUST-HAVES and a few optional items. BEFORE you get your bees, you need to have all this stuff, be familiar with its operation and setup, and set up the hive.

Protection

Always wear a bee suit!!

  • Bee suit (integrated jacket & veil, or integrated veil and overalls).
  • Gloves. Disposable nitrile or dishwashing gloves work well.
  • Pant leg belt (or duct tape).

Tools

  • Hive tool – they’re inexpensive, so you might get a spare too.
  • Smoker.
  • Smoker fuel – you can use dried leaves, or you can buy burlap or other smoker fuels.

Be very careful starting and using your smoker. Do not start a wildfire! If it’s a windy day, best not to work on your bees.

Hive

Please see here for an overview of a typical beehive.

We recommend starting with a Langstroth hive – by far the most common type of hive.

The minimum to get started:

  • Hive stand – highly recommended – it is best to get the hive up off the ground.
  • Bottom board – either a solid or “screened” bottom board. You can always change it later.
  • Deep hive body (see below about 8 vs 10 frame bodies).
  • Frames for the deep body – 9 1/8″ black waxed.
  • Cover – telescoping cover w/ inner cover recommended, but “migratory cover” ok too. Make sure it matches your body (number of frames)!

Other

  • Water source. Your bees need water. Don’t make them go to your neighbor’s swimming pool for water.

Nice to Haves

  • Propane torch to start the smoker. Much quicker and easier than a match or lighter.
  • Feeder, syrup and pollen patties.
  • Notebook and pen.
  • Camera / phone.
  • Mint candy or gum – your breath (CO2) can agitate the bees. DO NOT eat bananas around your bees, or have any banana smell or material on your person when near your bees. It has a chemical compound similar to bee alarm pheromone and will agitate your bees to sting you.