So You Want to Be a Beekeeper
Updated: Sep 19, 2021
When beginning a journey in beekeeping, it can be overwhelming to navigate your first steps. The best chance you can give yourself is having the right tools. But which ones are right? There are so many things that beekeepers use! What is necessary just to get started? I have been beekeeping for over seven years and here are the tools I would recommend.
You will want a hood. This keeps the sun and the bees out of your face. Bees are curious and like to explore small dark holes. You don’t want the bees getting into your nose or ears. It also keeps them out of your hair. You don’t have to get an expensive one. It will get dirty and sweaty and you’ll replace it sooner than you realize.
A jacket is good to have when starting. It will help you be less scared of the bees to start. Once you are more experienced being around them you won’t need the jacket except for a few particular situations. I will discuss that in a future post. This item is like the hood. It will get dirty, so don’t worry about spending a lot of money on a high end one starting out.
Goatskin gloves are another item that is nice to start with. I would encourage you to get comfortable enough handling bees to use your bare hands. There is some very detailed work when handling beehives and bare hands work better. But starting out you will be calmer with gloves. It is better not to cheap out here. Good goat leather gloves will allow you to still have a good range of motion with your hands. You want gloves that fit well so you can handle everything well. Gloves that are too tight or too loose will cause more problems than you want.
A hive tool is necessary for handling all sorts of equipment such as manipulating boxes, prying frames, and removing the cover. You won’t just use it while around the bees, you will use it on the equipment you are handling away from the bee yard too. If you are working with your bee equipment you will want your hive tool handy. There are all sorts of different styles and types each with their own advantages and disadvantages. Try out different kinds and see what you like. That being said, I still have my first cheap hive tool that just came with a simple starting kit.
Your smoker is a very important piece of equipment. Learn how to light and clean it. Anytime you go out to a hive you will want to light it up and smoke the bees. This calms them down immensely. It only takes one time for you to “just take a quick peak” and the bees will remind you why you should smoke them first. It is okay to spend a little money here. You want a smoker that performs well and will last.
You will need a place to keep your bees. I recommend a Langstroth style hive. They are relatively cheap and have universal sizes so replacement parts are easy to get. I will make a future post about different types, but the short version is, I believe this style to be the best choice for most beekeepers. You will need a bottom board, a deep hive body, frames with foundation, an inner cover, and an outer cover.
You will also need bees to put into the hive. These can be purchased online, sourced, from a local beekeeper, or you can capture your own swarm. We also offer a fully assembled hive with bees and will deliver in the Northeastern Oklahoma area.
There are lots of different types of all of the equipment above, but you can start your beekeeping journey with the above equipment alone. Good luck!
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