Do you have everything you need to start beekeeping? We’ve put together this handy equipment list that you can reference throughout the year.
We like to go through our inventory early Spring to make sure that we have everything we need so that we’re not scrambling to look for equipment during the thick of the beekeeping season.
Essential Beekeeping Equipment
- Hat and veil
- Jacket and veil
I always wear my bee suit, so then I never wish the hell I had put it on
– Kirko Beeo, Backwards Beekeepers and HoneyLove LA
Ego is going to make you want less equipment when you should be purchasing more than you need. It is important to wear equipment that makes you feel comfortable around your bees. If you feel uncomfortable, the experience will be less enjoyable for both you and your bees.
Protective equipment comes in all shapes and sizes, including children sizes. If you want to give your friends, family, and neighbours a hive tour, you want to make sure you have extra pieces of protective equipment on hand.
Items for Lighting a Smoker
- Smoker with a shied in steel container for safe storage
- Lighter or matches
- Smoking material: This can be egg cartons, horse dung, burlap, wood chips and or dry grasses. Wood chips and dry grass can create sparks, so use the billows with self-awareness.
Everyday Beekeeping Tools
- Hive Tool
- Queen Cages
- Inspection Journal
- Bottom board: Screened or regular
- Entrance reducer
- 6 Langstroth boxes: Standard box depth is 9 1⁄2” or 9 5/8” for 9 1/8 frames, shallows are 5
- 11/16” depth
- 10 frames per box
- Foundation: standard, small cell, or go foundationless. You choose!
- Inner Cover
- Queen excluder: Not essential. This is a management tool that I don’t recommend using until your second year after you get a hang of watching brood production and whole hive development unobstructed.
- Telescoping lid
- Feeder: Boardman, hive top, or friction frame
Other Handy Tools
- Pocket knife
- Tooth picks
- Flat topped push pins: For cut-outs, fixing broken comb, IDing hives or frames that need some work
- Cotton string: For cut-outs and fixing broken comb
- Duct tape
- Water jug: To wash hands and tools
Advice for Choosing your Hive Bodies and Equipment
As beekeeping has grown in popularity, as well as the appreciation for our past, we are finding more and more alternative, unique and innovative beekeeping hive types and styles available. From free blueprints, to YouTube videos, our DIY culture there is a never ending rabbit hole you can fall in to when looking in to this stuff. So, here is my advice.
Start with something that is popular in your community.
This tends to be Langstroth or Top Bar Hive in Canada, especially if the equipment is standardized within that community. BEFORE YOU LOSE YOUR S#*T, think about this for a second.
It is easier to learn from people who are used to using the equipment you are using, making finding a mentor easier.
This tends to be Langstroth or Top Bar Hive in Canada, especially if the equipment is standardized within that community. BEFORE YOU LOSE IT, think about this for a second.
You can always do something different the following year.
Can I remind you of why you are doing this beekeeping thing: It is to learn and commune nature, not to dominate it or become the RULER of a colony, or the coolest person in your club. Its all about LETTING GO OF EGO!
Once you learn to work bees, it doesn’t matter what hive type you move to as the bees are still bees. Its all about becoming comfortable with observing, critical analysis, note taking, and preparation. If you can get that down, you could keep bees in a clay pot!
You now know what you need to keep bees, but how do you use all these pieces of equipment? Check out our FREE online course, Orientation to Hobby Beekeeping to learn how to use your beekeeping equipment, how to purchase bees, and the musts for successful hive placement.