Honey Bee Supplies: What You’ll Need to Begin Beekeeping
What are the honey bee supplies you’ll need to start beekeeping? There aren’t many bee supplies that you’ll have to have.
But the ‘must have’ beekeeping supplies are very important!
Obviously you’ll need a beehive and some bees.
But you’ll also need some specialized bee equipment.
The items you’ll need are not terribly expensive, and you can order these bee supplies from a number of different suppliers, both online and off.
Here’s what you’ll need…
Essential Honey Bee Supplies: Beekeeping Suit or Bee Veil
At a minimum you’ll need a bee veil, and you may be more comfortable with a full beekeeping suit.
A bee veil is absolutely essential. It covers the head, and prevents stings in the most critical and sensitive areas of the body. (Have you ever been stung on the eyelid or lip? Ouch!!)
There are a number of different styles of bee veils, but most just fit over a hat of some sort, and then are tied off around the chest. A quality bee veil that is fitted and tied correctly will be bee tight.
Many beekeepers prefer to wear a full beekeeping suit.
A bee suit includes a bee veil, and provides much more protection against stings than just a veil. There are full bee suits that cover the entire body, and partial suits that just cover the torso.
While a full bee suit offers lots of protection against stings, some beekeepers find them to be cumbersome and uncomfortably warm in the summertime.
Essential Honey Bee Supplies: Hive Tool
A hive tool is a specially designed tool for working with bees.
Hive tools are useful for tasks such as prying apart the parts of a beehive during a hive inspection, scraping off excess propolis and beeswax from hive parts, prying frames of comb out of the hive, and many other uses.
Hive tools come in many different styles; experience will tell you which you prefer. They are simple and inexpensive tools, but essential.
Essential Honey Bee Supplies: Bee Smoker
A bee smoker is used to puff clouds of smoke over the bees when you’re inspecting a hive. Smokers are absolutely essential. Trying to work bees without a smoker would be rather unwise – to put it mildly!
Smokers help to make bees more manageable by disrupting the communications of the colony. Honey bees spread an alarm signal through the use of a pheromone. The smoke helps to mask the pheromone, and thereby helps to depress the bees’ defensive response to the intrusion of a beekeeper.
Honey bees also seem to instinctively know that the presence of smoke indicates the possibility that they may have to abandon their hive. This causes them to gorge on honey so that they’ll have food for re-establishing their colony at another location.
As the bees frantically engorge themselves with honey, they become less inclined to respond defensibly to the beekeeper.
Essential Honey Bee Supplies: Bee Gloves
Although I’ve listed bee gloves as an essential item of beekeeping equipment, it really isn’t. Many beekeepers routinely work their hives barehanded.
But every beginning beekeeper should have a pair of bee gloves on hand. Most beginning beekeepers are a bit uncomfortable at first with sticking their bare hands into a nest of bees. Using bee gloves when you’re a beginning beekeeper can provide an extra level of comfort.
As you become more accustomed to working with the bees, you may reach a point of preferring to work without the gloves.
But even beekeepers that are quite comfortable working without gloves should have a pair on hand for dealing with the occasional ill-tempered hive.
Don’t Skimp on the Essential Honey Bee Supplies
If you decide to start beekeeping, be sure you have these items on hand from the beginning. They aren’t terribly expensive, and they are the proper tools for the trade.
And be sure to buy your bee supplies from a bee supply company.
Don’t buy mosquito netting, for example, to use as a bee veil. Buying from a bee supply company will assure that you’re buying equipment designed specifically for use in beekeeping.
The few bucks you might save by starting beekeeping without the proper equipment will be paid for dearly in headaches and bee sting welts!
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