Skip to main content

Getting started with Beekeeping: what equipment do you need?

If you're thinking about getting bees, you might be looking at all the equipment in the beekeeping shop (or website) and wondering what you actually NEED and what is just nice to have.  We were lucky to buy a lot of gear pretty cheaply from an older commercial beekeeper who wanted to get rid of all his beekeeping gear, and we have gradually figured out what its all for and what we need to keep.  Here's what I think you need first up and what you might need in the future.


eight acres:Getting started with Beekeeping: what equipment do I need?


Hives and bees
You are going to need at least one hive box and if your hive is productive you will need to give them more space in the form of a "super" pretty quickly.  In Australia you typically buy a nucleus hive or "nuc", and depending where you buy it, you may need to provide the nuc box as well (more info on buying bees).  You will need enough frames to fill your boxes (see building frames and wiring frames here).  This is assuming that you've decided to use Langstroth hives and there are other options available, more information here.

Equipment for inspecting hives
We have a "bee bag" which is an old sports bag where we keep everything we need for inspections.  Beehives need to be checked every couple of weeks in spring through autumn and less often in winter.  You will need:
  • Protective gear, at least a veil, but most likely also gloves until you are confident
  • A hive tool for opening the hives and removing frames
  • A smoker, including lighter and fuel - we keep ours in the metal bucket, not in the bee bag!
  • A small container to keep burr comb that you remove from the hive (this can be melted down to beeswax when the container is full)
  • A notebook and pen to record what you find when you open the hives, as you get more hives or inspect less frequently this is one of your most important tools for managing your bees
  • First aid supplies, including antihistamine tablets and ointment, cold packs and aloe vera, just in case your or someone with you has a bad reaction to a bee sting
  • Small hive beetle traps if they are a problem in your area (and management for other pest or diseases that may be an issue for you)

eight acres:Getting started with Beekeeping: what equipment do I need?
hive tool and smoker

eight acres:Getting started with Beekeeping: what equipment do I need?
Pete modelling the protective gear you will need at first


eight acres:Getting started with Beekeeping: what equipment do I need?
a few first aid supplies just in case

Equipment for extracting and storing honey
This depends how many hives you have and how much honey you expect to produce.  If you only have a few hives you can use the crush and strain method of extraction, or find someone else with a spinner who will let you borrow it.  We have a small two frame manual spinner, which is great for 10-20 hives.  As you get more hives you will eventually need a larger motorised spinner.  You also need a strainer and buckets to keep your bulk honey.  Sally explained it really well in her interview with me here.  Don't spend too much money on this part until you know how many hives you will have and if you really like beekeeping, as you don't need to extract honey right away.

A bee brush and escape board are also really handy for getting the bees off the honey frames!


eight acres:Getting started with Beekeeping: what equipment do I need?

Do you keep bees?  What else would you say is essential equipment when you first get started?



eight acres:Getting started with Beekeeping: what equipment do I need?


Comments

  1. Have a plan for varroa mites if they are a problem in your area. Do the research and determine how and when you will deal with them. Found out the hard way and lost both hives my first year bee keeping. Also, beginners should consider starting with at least two hives so they can compare and contrast to spot problems earlier.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Thanks, I appreciate all your comments, suggestions and questions, but I don't always get time to reply right away. If you need me to reply personally to a question, please leave your email address in the comment or in your profile, or email me directly on eight.acres.liz at gmail.com

Popular posts from this blog

What to do with eight acres

Behind the scenes of my blog I can see the search terms that led people to find my blog.  It can be quite interesting to look through them occasionally and see what people are looking for.  Most of them involve chicken tractors, but another question that comes up regularly is “what can you do with eight acres?” or “how much land is eight acres?”.  Today I will try to answer this question.

Of course it is a very broad question, there are lots and lots of things you can do with eight acres, but I’m going to assume that you want to live there, feed your family and maybe make a little extra money.  I make that assumption because that’s what I know about, if you want to do something else with your eight acres, you will need to look somewhere else.

If you haven’t chosen your land yet, here a few things to look for.  Focus on the things you can’t change and try to choose the best property you can find in your price range.  Look for clean water in dams, bores or wells, either on the property …

Growing and eating chokos (chayotes)

** Sign up for my weekly email updates here, you will find out more about my garden, soap and our farmlife, straight to your inbox, never miss a post!  New soap website and shop opening soon....

Cooking chokos (not be confused with another post about cooking chooks) has been the subject of a few questions on my blog lately, so here's some more information for you.
Chokos - also known as Chayote, christophene or christophine, cho-cho, mirliton or merleton, chuchu, Cidra, Guatila, Centinarja, Pipinola, pear squash, vegetable pear, chouchoute, güisquil, Labu Siam, Ishkus or Chowchow, Pataste, Tayota, Sayote - is a vine belonging to the Cucurbitaceae family, along with pumpkins, squash and melons, with the botanical name Sechium edule.


The choko contains a large seed, like a mango, but if you pick them small enough it is soft enough to eat.  If you leave the choko for long enough it will sprout from one end and start to grow a vine.  To grow the choko, just plant the sprouted choko a…

How to make coconut yoghurt

Lately I have been cutting back on eating dairy.  I know, I know, we own two house cows!  But I am trying to heal inflammation (bad skin) and dairy is one of the possible triggers, so as a last resort and after much resistance, I decided I had better try to cut back.  Its been hard because I eat a LOT of cheese, and cook with butter, and love to eat yoghurt (and have written extensively about making yoghurt).  I had to just give up cheese completely, switch to macadamia oil and the only yoghurt alternative was coconut yoghurt.  I tried it and I like it, but only a spoonful on some fruit here and there because it is expensive!





The brand I can get here is $3 for 200 mL containers.  I was making yoghurt from powdered milk for about 50c/L.  So I was thinking there must be a way to make coconut yoghurt, but I didn't feel like mucking around and wasting heaps of coconut milk trying to get it right....  and then Biome Eco Store sent me a Mad Millie Coconut Yoghurt Kit to try.  The kit is…