Getting Your First Honey Bees
Getting your first bees can be a very exciting experience. Before you do it's important that you are ready for their arrival.
There are a few basic tools that will need:
Hive tool - The hive tool is the main tool for working in the hive. It is used to manipulate the frames and the hive boxes. There are a few different styles but you should begin with the basic style tool.
Smoker - The smoker is used to calm the bees when you are working in the hive. Purchase a full size quality smoker that will last for a long time. You will need fuel for the smoker. Pine needles are ideal.
Bee brush - This is an optional basic tool. It is used to move the bees when working the hive but you may find it is not necessary.
Bee suit - Most new beekeepers use at least a bee jacket. The best option is a ventilated jacket since working in the suit can be very hot in the summertime.
Veil - The veil provides protection for your face and head and we recommend that you use a veil. Even the most experienced beekeepers will use a veil from time to time.
Hives - We recommend the new beekeeper begin with eight frame hives due to the weight. They come in deep, medium and shallow sizes. The deep is most commonly used for the bottom box or the "brood" box. This is the area where the queen is most likely to lay eggs. Because of its lighter weight the medium box it is becoming increasingly popular as a brood box. Typically two medium hives are used in place of one deep. The medium is also most often used as a honey "super" so using a medium as a brood chamber means you will only need to buy one size of frame.
Frames and foundation - You will need enough frames to fill your hives. 8 frames per eight frame box. Note the NUC comes with five frames. When purchasing your foundation, we recommend small cell foundation. Frames come in different styles. We recommend a frame style that uses the "wedge". One style we do not recommend is the "N" style as they are susceptible to harboring Small Hive Beetles. When you first get your bees they will be in either a five frame NUC or a package. Although you can install a package in an eight hive, we recommend you initially install them in a five frame NUC to give them the best opportunity for success. You will have a use for the five frame box later for splits.
Feeder- Your new bees must be fed until they become established and during periods when there are not enough natural sources of nectar. There are several different types of feeders. Each type has its benefits. We recommend that you begin with a hive top feeder.
These are the basic tools of beekeeping and they are all that are required to begin your beekeeping adventure.
When picking up your bees, you should provide a new hive or box to put them in. If you do not have a new hive or box we can provide one at a small additional cost. Note: If you are picking up your bees at our apiary, do not bring a box or frames to the apiary that have been used. To avoid any chance for the spread of disease, we do not allow used equipment in our apiary.