Many people have been asking what equipment is needed when you are looking into getting a hive. First it is important to explain what you are getting. A package is typically 3 lbs of bees and a queen. Our nucs that we sell are 5 frames of the Langstroth design. They are what we consider deep frames (9 1/8 “). There will be a laying queen, 4 frames of brood, and 1 frames of honey. So onto the equipment that you need as a beginner in beekeeping!
Our nucs have 5 deep frames like the example pictured above, (4 frames of brood and 1 frame of honey).
The first thing that you will need is the hive equipment. Most hobbyist like to have the hives set up off the ground (I have used stacked cinder blocks and they work just fine). Having the hive up off the ground will help to prevent the equipment from getting wet and rotting. Also having the hive off the ground can keep pests out such as skunks who will scratch at the hives to get the bees to come out so they can eat them.
The hive equipment needed:
- Bottom Board
- Lid (This can be several options but for overwintering a lot of beekeepers prefer to use a notched inner cover with a telescoping metal lid.)
- A Langstroth deep box ( this can either be 8 frames or 10 frames, some people like the 8 frame equipment because it can be lighter to work with)
- Frames (for a nuc you will need at least 4- 5 more for 10 frame equipment since you are getting 5 frames from us)
- A honey super box with frames (this will be another Langstroth box of 8 to 10 frames, as long as it is the same number of frames as your other box) This can also be a deep or a medium box.
- Some type of feeder (there are in hive feeders or entrance feeders).
- A smoker is necessary when working with your bees. Smoke will help to distract the bees from you opening their hive. It makes them believe that their hive may be on fire so they try to go in and eat honey to save their food in case they need to start over.
- Hive Tool – This is an important tool to have to help your break the lid or frames loose if the bees have glued the frames together using propolis.
Above: A bottom board by itself with the entrance reducer.
Above: A deep box on top of the bottom board with an entrance reducer.
Above: A deep box is pictured on the bottom; on top is the medium box to show the size difference.
Above: A picture of in hive feeders.
We have some equipment available for pickup only at Hackenberg Apiaries in Lewisburg, PA. Please email email@example.com or call 570-850-7492 for availability.
It is recommended to set up your beehive before you install your bees that way it is sitting ready when you bring them home. You will want to set the hive away from where you frequent. If you have a backyard where you host picnics this would not be the ideal place to put your hive as it may increase the likelihood of someone getting stung. You will also want to find a place that will get sunlight and is not prone to be swampy or flooded. You could choose to put the beehive up against a building to help block some wind. You will also want a standing water source. Honeybees need water, especially on those hot dry summer days. Providing a small source of water, a bird bath, a small kiddy pool (one that is not used!!), or even a pet dish (again one that is not in use!!!). Also make sure the bees have a landing pad so they do not drown in the water, whether this would be stones that stick out above the water level or floating sticks. Bees can fly up to 2 miles to get water if need be. Running water is not recommended as the bees could be caught up in the current and drowned. The next thing you will need is protective equipment for yourself because unfortunately honey bees’ sting!
Protective equipment needed:
- A bee suit with a veil ( a full suit is recommended for beginners but you can also wear light colored jeans with a bee jacket with a veil)
- Bee gloves (Long gloves are recommended to help prevent stings in the wrist but you can also use short gloves if you prefer)
- Some type of footwear that you will not get stung through (boots are typically recommended because they come up higher than sneakers and this helps to prevent your ankles getting stung).
Full Suit pictured above.
Bee Jacket pictured above.
Even with this protective equipment you may still get stung from a bee crawling into your suit on the rare occasion and there will be lots of bees flying around you and landing on you while you are working and this is normal.
Last but not least you are ready to install your bees. Once installed if you have any undrawn foundation, (frames without beeswax drawn out) you will want to feed your bees sugar syrup to help them to draw these frames out. This can be an entrance feeder or an in hive feeder.
Undrawn foundation shown above.
Frames with beeswax drawn out shown above.
For further help you may want to look into local beekeeping groups or communities in your area. These are a great way to meet others and have a place to talk to more experienced beekeepers who can offer you tips and insight.