What Equipment Do I Need to Be Ready For My First Bees?

Quite a bit of equipment is available for beekeepers some essential and some nice to have. Figuring out what you need can be confusing. Here we’ll go over the essentials.

Protective Gear: When it comes to handling bees, there is one thing that beginner beekeepers need to get used to and that is getting stung. In the beginning, it is very important to wear protective gear. This might be the most essential beekeeping equipment for beginners. For a beginning beekeeper there are two recommended options: a full suit or jacket. A suit will gives full protection for the most part while a jacket only protects the upper body. However, I remedy this by wearing thick overalls and rubber boots. Gloves  are another important item to get while starting your beekeeping journey. I prefer  goatskin gloves because they are long-lasting and pretty sting proof. It is important  to remember that nothing is technically sting proof, if a bee wants to sting you, they  may find a way to do it. However, quality gear will make it less likely.  

Smoker: A smoker is an invaluable tool for all beekeepers as it makes  aggressive bees more docile. Primarily, smoke makes honeybees believe  there may be a wildfire nearby. This prompts them to eat as much honey as  they can in preparation for a potential move. Honeybees are more docile  with a full stomach due to physical difficulty in tipping their abdomens up to  sting. Smoke also masks the alarm pheromone given off by guard bees,  minimizing the defensive reactions of the colony. Honeybee alarm  pheromone smells like banana candy, so if you smell bananas in your hive,  it’s time for another puff of smoke. Similarly, beekeepers should not eat  bananas directly before getting into a hive, since it may be perceived by your  bees as alarm pheromone.  

Matches or lighter: You will need a lighter to ignite your smoker material.  Matches, grill lighters and propane lighters are examples. 

Hive Tool: Your hive tool is one of your most critical pieces of equipment.  Bees glue everything in the hive together with their resin-like propolis. This  requires the beekeeper to pry the seal open with a hive tool. A hive tool  allows you to detach comb from hive sides, cut and scrape propolis, and pry  frames.  

First aid kit: Including Benadryl and an EpiPen if allergic.  

Bee Brush (optional): When inspecting the combs or harvesting the honey, you can  use this brush to gently brush the bees off the comb. 

Feeders (optional): Optional but highly recommended. Feeding new bees get them off to a strong start. There are many types of feeders. Entrance feeders, hive top feeders,  frame feeders, jar feeders and pail feeders. Many club members prefer an internal jar feeder system.  

Frame holder (optional): For users of the Langstroth hive, a frame holder is a super-helpful  device that I love. This gadget hangs on the side of the hive, providing a secure  place to rest frames during routine inspection. It will hold several frames giving you  room to manipulate frames within your hive without crushing bees.  

Notebook and pencil (optional): You can take notes on your inspections as well as note what  tasks you have completed and what may need attention on a subsequent visit.   Mite kit: Definitely have a mite kit handy to determine your mite levels.   Additional tools  

Magnifying glass (optional): When inspecting the beehives, we may need to look for  fresh eggs and larvae. Trying to spot tiny little eggs in the cells is difficult without magnification. Whether we want to ensure there is a laying queen or  suspect a laying worker the magnifying glass is essential to carry with you.  o Frame lifter: A frame lifter is used by many beekeepers to firmly grip a fame  and remove the frame from the hive.  

Equipment of a local beekeeper in Northeast Wisconsin
  • 1) Tote for carrying equipment
  • 2) Goat skin gloves
  • 3) Bee Suit
  • 4) Rubber gloves for handling Mite treatments
  • 5) Smoker
  • 6) Lighter
  • 7) Mini Fire starters
  • 8) First aid kit
  • 9) Bee Brush
    A. Hive tools
    B. Frame holder
    C. Cinnamon for ant control
    D. Mite kit
    E. Duct tape
    F. Scissors
    G. Rubber bands for bottom of pant legs
    H. Magnifying glass (missing)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *