Getting Started In Beekeeping
If you are preparing to take the plunge and become a beekeeper but just have some doubts, please take a moment to view this presentation. Created by one of our club members, Evan Davies, it may help you make the decision, is beekeeping something I am able to do?
Right Click and select "Save Target As" to download this presentation.
Any new beekeeper will benefit from having a mentor. The Colonial Beekeepers has a Mentor Program that attempts to pair up new beekeepers with club members that are local to them. If you are a club member and would like to participate in this program please contact Joe Thornton, 757-898-8411.
What about the Beehive Grant Fund?
The lastest information was sent out in an email by the Virginia State Beekeepers Association Legislative Representative Lannie Ballard in July of 2012. Click here to read the email.
Equipment Needed To Get Started
Hi, I'm Pete Ostrowski, president of Colonial Beekeepers Association and here is a list of items that I would presently recommend to get started in beekeeping. Many suppliers provide Beginning Beekeeping Kits but as it often is with kits you get some stuff you'll not need or could be replaced by better. Remember, ask 7 beekeepers a question and get 7 different answers. These choices are my opinion only. Researching these items between different suppliers or kits may reduce costs. I’ve updated this list in fall 2012 using Mann Lake as a supplier as they have FREE shipping for orders of over $100. You can download this info on a spreadsheet by clicking here. Also note that some of the pictures below are from suppliers other than Mann Lake but the products will be similar. Mann Lake just didn’t have good pictures to copy….
There are some assumptions that I’ll be making while compiling this list:
I am going to list products making the assumption that two hives are going to be started. It is a recommended practice to start with two so that comparisons will indicate to the new beekeeper if problems are present.
I am going to assume that the new beekeeper has elected to go with all medium supers for building the hive so all equipment is interchangeable.
I am going to assume that the new beekeeper has elected to go with 10 frame equipment.
I am going to assume that the new beekeeper wants to practice Integrated Pest Management (IPM) with the new colonies.
OK, let’s get ready to hive some bees:
1. An Instruction Manual - you'll want to have a reference manual and this one is basic and has much good information.
BM-150 Starting Right With Bees $9.95
2. Telescoping covers and inner covers - the roof and ceiling of the hive.
WW-301 10 Frame Telescoping Cover With Inner Cover 1 - 4 $27.95 X 2 = $55.90
3. Screened Bottom Board(IPM) - the floor of the hive.
WW-685 10 Frame Varroa Trap With Drawer 1-4 EACH $26.95 x 2 = $53.90
4. Entrance Reducer - reduces the size of the front door until the bees are established and able to defend their colony with a full size entrance.
WW-355 10 Frame Entrance Reducer $1.50 x 2 = $3.00
5. Medium Supers (10 each) - the walls of the hive. (These can be bought in two separate buys to reduce initial costs and shipping as the colony will take time to use all ten of these supers.)
WW-605_b 6 5/8" (16.83 cm) Unassembled 10 Frame Hive Body Commercial Grade Supers - Bulk $11.50 x 10 = $115.00
6. Medium Frames (100 each) - these are like rooms within the hive. They will hold the comb. 10 frames are required for each super.
FR-912 6 1/4" (15.88 cm) Unassembled Select Frames - Wedged Top & Groove Bottom - Case of 100 $79.00
7. Small Cell Foundation (IPM) - This provides the template for the bees to build comb. One sheet per frame is normally used. (These also can be bought in two separate buys as mentioned above to reduce initial costs and shipping as the colony will take time to use all this foundation.)
FN-230 5 5/8" x 16 3/4" (14.29 cm x 42.55 cm) Small Cell Wired With Hooks $10.95 x 10 = $109.50
8. Feeder - it will be necessary to feed sugar water to a new colony to assist it in establishing itself. There are many feeder styles but for starting out I’d suggest just using a quart jar with a feeder lid on top of the inner cover. Another option might be a hive top feeder like this.
FD-110 10 Frame Top Feeder w/ Super $19.95 x 2 = $39.90
9. Smoker - it is a good practice to use smoke when you inspect your bees. It calms and disorientates them so they are easier to work. You can buy fuel but grass clipping, pine straw and other items work well and are free.
HD-555 4" x 7" (10.16 cm x 17.8 cm) Smoker With Guard $34.95
10. Hive Tool - will not be necessary in the beginning but as the bees establish the hive and propolize, the tool assists in separating the components. I recommend the hook-end type tool.
HD-620 10 1/2" Frame Lifter and Scraper $9.95
11. Protective Clothing - a veil is the minimum protection required (you don’t want to get stung in the eye!) regardless of what you’ve seen or heard. I like this jacket veil combination and suggest some bib type overalls to wear along with it. For more protection a coverall is the way to go! (fit should be loose, nothing skin tight in the bee yard!)
CV-420 Economy Hooded Jacket $52.95
CV-315 Economy Hooded Suit X Large $74.50
12. Gloves - many suggest starting without gloves or transition to going without gloves but regardless you’ll want a pair to have in your kit. I suggest the non-ventilated type as there is not much ventilation and you can get stung through the screen. Another way to go is with a yellow dishwashing glove or nitrile gloves.
CL-158 Large Meyer Gloves $21.95
13. Additional Nice To Have Items:
HD-650 Frame Perch $19.95
HD-630 Standard Frame Grip $16.95
HD-660 Bee Brush $4.95
- $9.95 Manual
- $55.90 Inner & Telescoping Covers
- $53.90 Screened Bottom Boards
- $3.00 Entrance Reducers
- $115.00 Medium Supers
- $79.00 Medium Frames
- $109.50 Small Cell Foundation
- $39.90 Hive Top Feeders
- $34.95 Smoker
- $9.95 Hive Tool
- $52.95 Jacket & Veil Combo
- $21.95 Gloves
- $578.60 TOTAL less items #13
- $19.95 Frame Perch
- $8.95 Frame Grip
- $4.95 Bee Brush
- $612.45 TOTAL for all items
- Shipping costs are not included as Mann Lake has FREE shipping.