Updated: Sep 19, 2021
As the season progresses, there will be more equipment you will need to take care of your hives and obtain your bees sweet and delicious honey. This equipment isn’t needed when you first start out, but you will want to get it as soon as possible.
For the Hive
You will need a second deep hive body with frames and foundation. As the population fills the original body you will want to give them room to expand. I recommend adding the next body to the top when you see bee activity on 70% of the frames.
You will need a queen excluder. This is a grate that has slits small enough for the bees to get through but not the queen. This keeps her in the lower boxes laying eggs. You can get a cheap plastic one here. I find they are easier to clean and if they get too gunked up with propolis and wax, it is okay to throw it away and get a new one.
Next you will need two medium honey supers with frames and foundations. This is shaped similar to the hive body, but shorter. The bees will wax out these frames and fill them with honey. This will be the honey you harvest.
Next you will need a bee escape. When it is time to harvest you will place this on the hive so the bees can get out of the honey supers, but can’t get back in. You will use this again and again. So go for quality on this. You want the bee escape to keep its shape and last for a while.
For getting the honey out of the frames you will need a decent amount of equipment. There are extracting kits available online.
Make sure you kit has at least the following:
A cutting knife. You will see hot knifes, cold knifes, rollers and all sorts of other equipment. A cold knife is fine to start. As your operation grows you can upgrade it to make wax cutting easier.
An uncapping scratcher. This will allow you to open the comb caps that the knife misses. Get whatever is comfortable with your budget.
An extractor. This spins the frames and slings the honey out for collecting. Until your operation is larger than 3 hives it may not be economical to get one. You can always just cut the honey comb out of the frames, crush it, let the honey run through a filter, and harvest it that way, but having empty comb on your frames to place back on the hive seems to be easier on the bees. They don’t have to work so hard replacing the comb. I would recommend borrowing an extractor until your operation is large enough to
be worth it. When you are ready, get a quality one. You want it to work well and last a long time.
A filter. You will need something to filter the wax and insect parts out of your honey. I recommend a cheaper nylon filter. They are easier to clean and if it gets ruined it is no big deal to get a new one.
A honey bucket. I recommend a food grade five gallon bucket with a honey nozzle attached. This makes gathering the filtered honey and then bottling it much easier. It is also a cheap way to start for the beginner.
The only thing you need after that is to decide what bottles you want to store it in. I have had luck with both glass and plastic. Get whatever lids and bottles your budget allows. I do prefer the plastic one pound squeeze bottles with the lids that have a valve on them. It prevents dripping and minimizes the mess.
So this article and the last one shows you all the equipment you really need to get started. There are plenty of tools to make various jobs easier, but if you start with the items I have recommended in these two posts, you will be able to raise your own bees and end up with your own honey.
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