Starting beekeeping is really easy, assuming you have read a guide or handbook about beekeeping or gather information from other reliable resources. After you gain sufficient understanding about beekeeping, you will be ready to implement all the theories and knowledge and put them into real practices.
Fortunately, today there are plenty of beekeeping starter kits available in the market which you can start with. A typical starter kit consists of parts that are needed to construct your hive and a complete set of beekeeping protective gear plus some additional items that may be needed to make your task easier.
Most of the hive starter kits refer to the design of the standard Langstroth hive, which includes (from top to bottom):
- A telescoping cover
- Inner cover
- One or more supers or hive bodies
- Queen excluder (optional)
- 8 – 10 frames of various sizes this include a cell foundation
- Brood box
- Bottom board
- Hive stand
The telescoping is the outer cover is placed on top of the hive. It could be made of wood or polystyrene which fits over the hive and meant to protect the entire hive from weather. Another version of the outer cover is the migratory cover, which is made of a galvanized metal sheet.
The inner cover is a sort of barrier between the top cover and the inside of the hive which prevent the bees to glue the top cover to the upper sides of the supers. It can be made of a plastic sheet (for areas with moderate climates) or a solid cover with a communication hole (for areas with hot summer)
The supers or hive bodies are the structure that holds the frames with a standardized inner dimension. It could be made of wood, polystyrene or other plastic material and are grouped into deep, medium, shallow and comb supers providing you the flexibility to construct a brood chamber aside from storing and harvesting the honey. The supers are available in an assembled or unassembled format.
The frames and foundation are the structure that holds the honey comb and brood comb within the super. It has honey comb impressions where the bees suppose to build wax honey combs on it. The foundation should be placed at the bottom of the hive. You will usually get 8 – 10 frames of various sizes in your starter kit. Like the supers, you can choose among assembled and unassembled frames. You do not need to use all the 10 frames and use only 8 or 9 which depends on your preference.
The queen excluder is an optional part in a beekeeper’s kit. This is a divider between the brood box and the supers. It could be made of a perforated metal or plastic sheet or just a framed wire grid. This excluder is meant to prevent the queen to enter and lay eggs in the honey supers. If the queen succeeds in laying eggs in this area, it will be difficult to harvest a clean and quality honey.
The brood box or also called the brood chamber is at the very bottom of the hive and is the place where the queen bee lays her eggs. This is the place where the broods, which is referred to the egg, larvae and pupa stages of a bee lifecycle, will develop to mature bees.
The bottom board forms the floor of the hive. It could be equipped with an entrance reducer (optional). The bottom board is placed above the hive stand which keeps the hive off the ground and provides a landing platform for the worker bees when they want to enter the hive.
Aside from the above common hive starter kit you may also get a clothing starter kit which includes a cotton or polyester coverall jumpsuit, a mesh helmet (hat and veil) and a pair of vented leather gloves. As a matter of fact you can choose from various styles and sizes that should fit your body.
There are also starter kits that include additional items such as a beekeeping smoker and its fuel, hive tools and a bee brush. Look for the bigger smoker since it is easier to light. And last and might be the most important item is to ask for a beekeeper’s handbook if it is not included in your kit, as well as an instruction guide on how to assemble all the hive parts if you purchase the unassembled kit.
So, after you have prepared the proper bee housing from your kit, the next step will be purchasing the bees. The bees are your workers that will collect and produce honey for you. Recruiting the bee workers is another important task you should attend to if you are aiming to harvest quality honey.
Uno Birawan – About the Author:
Uno Birawan is a writer and wrote a lot about beekeeping. You can find the information on the Beekeeper Supplies by visiting his site www.TheHoneyBeekeeper.com