Are you planning to start your own backyard bee farm? If you don’t want to end up with rashes and sting marks, we suggest gearing up with the necessary supplies. Here are some beekeeping starter kit essentials!
9 Supplies Every Beekeeping Starter Kit Must Have
1. Bee Suit
When it comes to beekeeper equipment, the first thing that comes to mind is probably a full-body bee suit. It’s basically a piece of protective clothing that covers the entire body.
Most suits are made of breathable material so you can still use them even when it’s hot out. But if you live in a relatively warm state and feel a suit is too suffocating, you can opt for a suit jacket instead of a full-body suit.
Bee veils consist of a light, mesh, curtain-like veil hanging from the brim of a hard hat. These protect everything from your eyes down to your neck.
Never open your beehive without putting on a veil first. Remember: stings and rashes on the face are much harder to treat than the ones on the body.
3. Bee Smoker
A bee smoker is basically a small tin can that produces special non-toxic smoke. This smoke is used to mask and overpower the scent of pheromones, which is what bees use to communicate with each other.
Once bees are no longer able to detect pheromones, they will lose their main mode of emergency communication. And as a result, they stay calm and easy to manage.
A bee brush is used to scrape off bees from the honeycomb. This is done so the comb will be free and available for raw honey extraction.
Note: Bee brushes have soft bristles, so don’t worry because they won’t get hurt.
5. Uncapping Tool
The uncapping tool allows beekeepers to harvest the topmost layer of honey on the hive’s frame. Here are some options for you to choose from:
The electric knife is perhaps the best uncapping tool to use. It’s basically a heated knife that melts hardened honey as you scrape and harvest them from the frames.
If an electric knife isn’t available, you can opt to use the standard cold knife. It might not be able to scrape off honey as well as the electric knife, but it’ll surely get the job done.
This uncapping tool looks exactly like a spiked paint roller. The idea is to roll the tool up and down the frame to squeeze out all the honey.
6. Hive Tool
A hive tool is a multipurpose beekeeping starter kit essential. Beekeepers use them to separate frames from one another, lift the frames up and down, scrape off propolis, and get rid of unwanted burr comb.
You generally have two options: the J-type hook and the standard hive tool. They have the same functions and are often made of the same material. The only difference is that the J-type is shaped like a hook, making it easier for beekeepers to lift up frames.
Whether you choose the standard or J-type hive tool is completely up to you and what you prefer.
7. Bee Gloves
Are bee gloves essential? Of course!
A common mistake beginners commit is foregoing the use of protective gloves when handling their hive. This is often the result of seeing pros go barehanded.
Remember that these gloves are an absolute must since your hands will come in direct contact with the beehive. Even the slightest mistake can alert them and lead to a series of painful stinging.
So whether you’re a newbie or experienced beekeeper, we strongly discourage handling beehives without wearing gloves.
Once you have all the personal safety and beekeeping equipment, it's time to build your bees' home! There are generally three types of beehives to choose from:
The horizontal top-bar consists of a frameless single-story hive where the comb hangs at the top. It sort of looks like a grill. This is the oldest design in the market.
The Warré hive was popularized in the mid-90s. It’s essentially a small stack of boxes that are limited by neither foundation sheets nor frames. The goal of this design is to give bees as much space as possible inside their small hive.
The Langstroth beehive is the most commonly used option in the world of modern beekeeping. It’s easy to set up, simple, inexpensive, and very versatile. In fact, if you wanted to expand your beehive, all you need to do is add another box on top of your existing stack of boxes.
Finally, it’s time to get bees for your beehive. If you’re up to the challenge, you can try catching swarms of them in the wild. It’s not as hard as one would think.
The bigger problem here is that bees in the wild aren’t usually healthy. A lot of them carry diseases that could spread and infect your entire colony, so it’s best for newbies to purchase their bees from a local beekeeping expert.
When buying bees, aspiring beekeepers often have two options:
A nucleus hive gives you a headstart in building your farm because each one is about half the size of a normal bee colony. It includes five frames of comb inhabited by baby bees, a queen bee, and half a colony’s worth of worker bees.
Note, however, that the nucleus hive‘s biggest risk is that diseases and infections spread quickly in honeycombs.
If you feel the nucleus hive is too big for a beginner, opt for the package bees. These include the standard queen bee and worker bees.
Check out this video by BANYARD BEES for more beekeeping starter kit essentials!
Cultivating your own honey by growing a bee farm is one of the most fulfilling projects any homesteader can take on. The supplies might set you back a bit in terms of finances, but the free-flowing delicious, tangy raw honey you get makes it all worth it!
Plus, honey is very valuable, so you can earn back the money you spent on beekeeping supplies by selling honey at your local farmers’ market. People will pay good money for chemical-free, high-quality honey. In fact, depending on the quality, you can charge around $20 for a single jar!
What other supplies would you include a beekeeping starter kit? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below!
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