Keeping bees is a romantic and practical pastime. When you keep bees, you are partaking in a tradition that is as old as recorded history, a tradition that is vital to the health of our flowers. Unsurprisingly, we have seen an increased interest in beekeeping as a hobby in recent years, for a number of reasons. Whether people are concerned about the general decline of pollinators, looking for a personal supply of artisanal honey, or are simply seeking a closer relationship to the production of your food, beekeeping has become popular.
Today we will be exploring the beekeeping supplies and accessories that you will need when you start beekeeping. Whether you are apiary obsessed or just starting out, this guide will help you understand what you need for proper beekeeping.
The Essential Supplies
Whether you are an urban or rural beekeeper, your supplies will be the same. To begin beekeeping affordably, you’ll be needing a full hive, and the basic equipment – a bee suit, smoker, and hive tool. And, of course, your bees – though we will be covering the ins and outs of getting bees another day.
Good animal husbandry requires an understanding of shelter, so as to protect your animals and enable them to produce to their fullest. Bees are no different. Their ubiquitous shelter – the beehive – is a purpose-built structure designed to aid the lives of bees.
There are a number of hive options. The most iconic is the Langstroth hive – a modular design, with vertically hung bee hive frames on which bees build their comb. With the Langstroth, one or more boxes are stacked on top of each other. The brood is raised in the bottom cavities, while the hive builds their food supply – the comb – up the top.
Other popular options include top bar designs – where instead of lifting boxes full of honey to inspect your hive you can check frame by frame.
The Warre design is another option – intended to mimic the natural environment bees build hives in. They are gaining in popularity as beekeepers seek to raise domestic bees in a manner more closely aligned with wild bee habits. We don’t recommend pursuing a Warre design as you start out on your bee journey – the design is not compatible with Langstroth equipment.
Our bee hive kits have everything you need to start your hive. We use the Langstroth hive, specially made from injection-moulded plastic. Another great option is our starter kits. This comprises of 3 full depth, 8-frame boxes, bottom board and lid, and a queen excluder – everything you need in a hive to get it going.
Another iconic element of beekeeping is the white suit, with mesh over the face to protect from stings. We recommend beginning with a bee-suit, though the minimum personal equipment that’s needed is a veil, to protect your face as you inspect your hive.
However, a bee suit and bee gloves are desirable as these are built for the demands of beekeeping. That means minimal openings where bees could sting you if agitated.
You will need a hive tool and a smoker to round out your kit when starting beekeeping.
The hive tool is a multipurpose tool that is used for maintaining your hive and inspecting your bees. With your tool you will be able to open the hive, loosen frames that have been propolised (stuck together with bee wax) and scrape comb.
Your smoker is necessary to calm the bees down. Smoke is a natural way to relax bees, preparing them for disturbance from the beekeeper with minimal agitation.
New to beekeeping?
If you are new to beekeeping it is important to read, read, read. Beekeeping is a vast topic and there are loads of incredible resources online that can help you on your journey to being a successful hobbyist beekeeper.
Check out Nuplas Apiarist Supplies for a range of hobbyist beekeeping supplies to get you started. Browse our range online today.