What beekeeping equipment do I need?
So now that you've cleared it with your family and your city, and you are convinced that foundationless top bar hive or Warre hive (or both!) beekeeping is the best method for you, purchased or built your hive, it is time to buy some equipment. For convenience sake, we sell all of the following equipment at our store.
We recommend the following equipment for all new top bar hive and Warre beekeepers:
Hive tool: Your hive tool is one of your most critical pieces of equipment. Without it you will find it nearly impossible to inspect your colonies or add new boxes if you are using a Warre hive. Bees glue everything in the hive together with their resin-like propolis.
Smoker: While we rarely use a smoker in our own apiary, we do believe that it is a critical piece of a equipment for all beekeepers. The smoker is used to subdue the bees by both making it difficult for them to communicate, and also causing them to gorge on honey in preparation for a fire. Honey bees are temperamental creatures, and otherwise docile hives may have days where they are overly agitated. In most cases you will just avoid the hive on those days, but there are some times when you must get into or move the hive and a smoker will be your best friend!
Jacket with Veil and Gloves: As a new beekeeper it isn't likely that you will be overly comfortable with your unprotected hands and face near 40,000+ stinging insects at first. We recommend that all beekeepers start off using protective equipment at first so that they can become comfortable around their bees - bees seem to sense nervousness or confidence, and a nervous beekeeper often makes mistakes and gets stung, which is an easy way to get turned off of your new-found hobby. Once you get used to working with bees, if you want you can slowly wean yourself off of gloves and then off of a jacket entirely. You will begin to sense your bees' mood before you open the hive - they'll tell you if you need protective gear or a smoker or not!
Bee Brush: More useful than you would imagine, the bee brush can be used to gently move the bees off of comb or other places you don't want them to be. Keep in mind that the bees HATE the brush and you will find them stinging it mercilessly as you use it, so use it sparingly.
For those who are planning to get one of our hives, we offer a starter kit that includes all the tools and protective equipment you need to get started as a beekeeper: