These 5 must have items for beekeeping are the basic gear that you need to set up a hive and maintain your colony safely, while reaping the benefits of the bees pollinating your vegetable garden and having some raw honey every year.
Let’s get down to the gear!
The bee suit is a necessary part of your gear, particularly if, like me, you will be dealing with African honey bees. African honey bees are somewhat more aggressive than their European counterparts.
You have a couple of choices here:
- A full suit
- A half suit
The full suit covers your entire body, but is more cumbersome and hot to work in. The half suit covers the top half of your body, to the waist. Below that you can wear a thick pair of jeans for protection.
I normally wear boots and tape my trouser legs closed to prevent any angry bees getting up there!
Take a look at our post on 4 Tips For Choosing a Beekeepers Suit!
A good pair of gloves for beekeeping is invaluable, as your hands will be coming into contact with the bees and the hive.
Gloves are usually made from leather, with along cuff made from a thick material. This long cuff adds an extra layer of protection on your arms, which will become covered with bees as you work on the hive.
A key feature to look out for when buying gloves is to make sure the end of the long cuff of the glove has an elastic edge. This ensures a tight seal on your arm so that no bees can enter your glove.
Beekeepers Hive Tool
The beekeepers hive tool is an essential piece of hardware when working on hives. The lids of the hives and the frames inside the hives become stuck to the main box of the hive with bees wax. The hive tool is used to pry the lid and the frames loose so that you can easily perform your hive maintenance.
The smoker is another essential hardware item for beekeeping. The smoker is used to puff smoke into the hive and around the hive. This causes a reaction in the bees. They immediately go into hive fire protection mode and are less interested in stinging you! They enter the hive and begin fanning their wings to keep the hive cool. This is their natural response to a fire in the wild. While they are distracted in this manner, you can work more easily on the hive with the threat of stings being somewhat lower.
You may need to give a few puffs of smoke from the smoker during your work on the hive. This will help to maintain this state of distraction in the colony.
The style of bee hive you choose is influenced by personal preference and the types of bees you will be keeping.
My personal preference is the Langstroth hive. The reason I like using this type of hive is due to it’s modular design. This allows for the expansion of the hive as the bee colony grows in size.
Beekeeping is a rewarding undertaking. You not only have the benefits of pollinators living in your back yard and the harvesting of raw honey, but you will also be doing your bit in the conservation of bees. Indiscriminate use of insecticides has placed bee populations are under threat globally.
One thing to remember, as a beekeeper you need to find natural methods of fighting pests in your veggie garden. Don’t use pesticides – they’re not good for bees!
Some Complete Starter Kits
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