Beekeeping: Getting Started

When getting started with Beekeeping, you will need a few basic items.

1. Hive – Whether you choose a smaller 4 or 5 frame Nuc box, or a larger 8-10 frame medium or deep super, you will need frames (foundation is optional but recommended for faster production), a bottom board and top to cover the hive.

2. Stand – Your hive needs to sit on a stand to keep your bees out of the elements and direct contact with the ground where animals and insects will have no problem invading. Although a stand will not keep out all critters, it cuts down on the amount of stress your bees will have to contend with on a daily basis.

3. Smoker – A smoker is a necessity to keep the bees calm. Although the smoke itself isn’t calming to the bees, it instead makes them think their hive is on fire. The bees then gorge themselves with honey (and are therefore less likely to sting due to their filled abdomen) because they fear it is the last time they will be eating until they establish a new hive. Also, any pheromones the guard bees will emit when they fear an intruder is lurking will be masked by the smell of the smoke, making your entry into the hive much easier and less painful.

4. Sugar Water – You’ll need this to spray on your bees before shaking them into their new home. The sugar water will coat their bodies and they will be busy cleaning themselves and unable to fly, making dumping 2-3 pounds of ornery bees less of a hassle.

5. Hive Tool – When you first start putting your hive(s) to work, you’ll wonder why you need this item. It isn’t until after weeks/months of the bees making propolis (resinous mixture that honey bees collect from tree buds, sap flows, or other botanical sources used as a sealant for unwanted open spaces and small gaps in the hive) you will notice the frames and hive body are now glued shut. This tool will allow you to pry the frames apart in order to inspect your comb.

6. Brush – This simple tool helps get the bees off a frame you will be harvesting honey from.

7. Veil – This is an optional item, although recommended for beginners. Once you are comfortable with your bees (and have confirmed you do not have an aggressive breed), you’ll no longer need a veil, as we believe it makes investigating your hive more difficult. Inspecting your hive is one of the most important part of keeping bees healthy, and with a barrier between you and the bees/comb you can easily miss something as devastating as varroa mite or foulbrood.

8. Bees – Deciding on where to buy your bees from can be a daunting task. Buy bees from an established apiary in your local area, as those bees are already acclimated with the specific climate in your region and typically will fair better during winter.

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