Beginners equipment: What do you need and how to source.

It depends what you want. Also how much you want to spend.

The first lesson is :

  • understand what you need
  • Coming back to the theme, do the introductory course before you start; you will understand what you need and where you might consider purchasing from.

The second lesson is

  • At the start only buy what you need for the first season.

The sky is the limit. But once you have the basic kit, most other things you can obtain as you need them and have learnt about them.

Basic requirements.

My advice is :

1) Two complete hive sets (i.e. floor, brood box, queen excluder, 2 supers, crown board, roof and porter bee escapes, with all the necessary frames and wax foundation). I buy mine as seconds from C Wynn Jones or Thornes 


You can buy kit that is made from furniture grade wood, but the bees do not care. As long as it is dry....

2) Hive tools (good quality and sharp. You only need one, but I always mislay one!

3) Smoker

4) Good quality suit. You can buy cheap suits – but as happened to me a cheap suit that lets bees in soon has you buying a good quality suit.


For hygiene purposes you want a suit that can be put through a 95 degree wash

5) A supply of gloves


Please do not start with heavy duty gauntlets. You will crush bees as you handle frames and this irritates the whole hive and they cannot be sterilised. Best to buy a few pairs of mariglolds.

6) Box of chlorphenamine cheaper if bought in this name (originally called portion). You will get stung and best to be prepared.

7) Source your bees

The bottom line is we spent a fortune bought a complete package, basically all sorts and at premium prices. I seemed a good idea to get a starter kit. We spent more on one hive with a super than I now buy 2 complete hives with two supers.

You might ask why buy two hives?


BeeBase

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  • Social science study on how best to support beekeepers and bee farmers through education, information and advice
    20 January 2021
    Understanding how turnover (“churn”) among beekeepers can be managed and review information sources, learning methods and use of social media, to develop resources to support the beekeeping sector.

    Defra and Welsh Government have commissioned a social science study to gather information about different aspects of education and training. This includes getting a better understanding of how the turnover of beekeepers can be managed. It will also review information sources, learning methods and use of social media. The third part of the project will evaluate current continuous professional development schemes and resources to support bee farmers. The study which has just begun, has been contracted to ICF Consulting who have carried out a number of research projects in other areas for Defra. We are hoping that many beekeepers will participate in the project which will include a survey and further details will be announced soon.

    This work links into the Healthy Bees Plan 2030, working together to improve honey bee health and husbandry in England & Wales.
  • COVID-19 and Beekeeping update
    11 January 2021
    This is a re-issue of the guidance provided in October 2020:

    Please find the latest Covid-19 beekeeping guidance. The update includes separate links to the current Public Health Guidance for England, Wales and Scotland.

    Covid-19_and_Beekeeping_Update_v3

    COVID-19_and_Beekeeping_-_Welsh_Language_Version v3

    If you have any queries please contact:

    For England: BeeHealth.Info@defra.gov.uk
    For Wales: HoneyBeeHealth@gov.wales / GwenynMelIach@llyw.cymru
    For Scotland: Bees_Mailbox@gov.scot
  • Starvation and Varroa Alert
    04 December 2020
    Observations from beekeepers and Bee Inspectors across the UK suggest that some colonies of bees are becoming short of food.

    Please monitor your colonies throughout the coming months and feed as required to ensure your bees do not starve. A standard full size British National colony needs between 20-25 kg of stores to successfully overwinter. If they need feeding at this time then fondant should be used. This should be placed above the brood nest so that the bees are able to access it easily.

    For further information, please see the ‘Best Practice Guidance No. 7 - Feeding Bees Sugar’ on the following BeeBase Page: http://www.nationalbeeunit.com/index.cfm?pageid=167

    It has also been observed that Varroa levels in some hives are starting to increase again. This may be due to a number of factors, but the exceptionally mild weather this autumn has encouraged some colonies to produce more brood than usual which has allowed an increase in mite reproduction.

    Please monitor mite levels and treat accordingly.

    For further information, please see the’ Managing Varroa’ Advisory leaflet on the following BeeBase Page: http://www.nationalbeeunit.com/index.cfm?pageid=167