How to Source the Best Beekeeper Supplies
Article by Nancy Ketner
What should a novice beekeeper look for when acquiring beekeeper supplies? Well, he will need items to ensure his personal safety around a colony of stinging insects. He will need equipment in which to take care of his new bees. And, of course, he will need the bees. Beekeeper’s clothing and gear. A beekeeper shouldn’t even be going to inspect hives to see if he wants to buy bees from a local beekeeper without protective gear.
Protective beekeeping gear consists of a hat or helmet that has a veil on it that will reach to the beekeepers shoulders. This is one of the most important of beekeeper supplies. A sting on the nose or other part of the face is one of the most painful stings a beekeeper can get and the swatting at the bee who just stung a beekeeper’s nose can really rile up a colony of bees – not something any beekeeper likes to see happen.
A beekeeper also needs a smoker. A smoker is a tool that does just what the name would suggest – it produces smoke. Smoke keeps bees calm and makes them less able to use their stingers.Beekeepers also need a hive tool and a hammer to pry apart the parts of a hive that bees have “glued” together with a resinous substance they collect from tree buds called propolis.
Beekeepers should always wear gloves. There are various kinds from which to choose and a new beekeeper would surely want to read up on the qualities, pros and con, of each different type. Novice beekeepers should wear bee jackets and suits, although more experienced beekeepers tend to wear heavy light colored shirts and jeans. Beekeepers want to make sure that no bees can get inside, underneath, or sting through their clothing.
A colony of bees needs a hive. Hives can be bought, used and new, from local beekeepers, from beekeeping journals, from local garden supply stores, and they can be made by a novice beekeeper with some woodworking skills.
The best way to start is probably to buy all new equipment. It will be clean and disease and pest free and it will be correctly made. If the decision is made to buy used equipment, make sure that the equipment is clean and in good repair. Buying used equipment may be an immediate bargain but cost more than new equipment in the long run. Equipment that looks like it’s in bad shape – perhaps the wood is rotting or it isn’t painted or the paint is peeling off – is evidence that the colony of bees living in that hive wasn’t well cared for.
And then there are the bees themselves. It’s possible to lure a colony of honey bees out of a tree or a hole in a house where they’ve swarmed or taken up housekeeping. It’s really not the best idea for a new beekeeper to attempt to get his colony this way.
The best way to get bees is to buy package bees. You can get these at local farm and garden stores. It’s also possible to order entire colonies of bees through the mail. This is an expensive investment and not worthwhile, unless there are no colonies of bees to be had locally.
The bottom line is that there really isn’t an awful lot of equipment necessary for a beginning beekeeper to buy. He just needs to be smart about what he does buy to ensure his safety and the safety and happiness of his bees.
About the Author
My name is Nancy Ketner and I have been fascinated by Bees for as long as I can remember. Beekeeping can be a daunting hobby to start. Understanding Bees and Bee craft as a beginner can be difficult. That is why I started “> BeekeeperCentral.com as a free resource for others who wish to explore Beekeeping as a hobby or small business venture so people can get the most enjoyment they can from Honey Bees.
For more information on Beekeeping and where to source the best beekeeper supplies are best, then come to Beekeeper Central and sign up to our FREE mini e-course.