I like to start keeping bees in spring 2022…

WannaBeHillBilly

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… and i am a bit confused about the things that i really need and where to obtain those. Read a lot of books about how to keep bees and compiled a list of the must-have things (alphabetical order):

Bee Brush - There are cheap brushes available with plastic bristles and expensive ones with horsetail-hair bristles; What does a beginner really need?
Bee Hives
- i have decided to go with the Langstroth hives as they are most common, hence there are also a lot of different sub-types available here, full height, ½ height, … I assume that you cannot fit different heights into the same centrifuge for honey extraction? Are the supers from different manufacturers interchangeable?
Bee suit, jacket and/or veil - There are so many different types of protective "armor" out there, what does somebody really need? Would wearing rubber-boots, a thick jeans (work-trousers), bee jacket , veil and gloves be sufficient? Or is a »bunny-suit« sufficient.
Gloves - What type material works best as gloves? Leather or synthetics? - For sure my leather work-gloves won't work as they don't fully cover my wrists.
Hive Tool(s) - i guess the more different you have the better?
Smoker - I assume stainless steel works best? and again the price range is from cheap to gold-plated… What are those smoker-pellets made of? Are those good or is it better to use something else? - I remember my uncle (who hat several dozen hives) was using cotton, flax and sawdust from his own wood-working shop in his smoker.

Where do you buy your bee-stuff?
Is buying a »starter-set« online a recommended option?

I thought about starting with 2-3 hives next spring, is that a good number for a beginner? - I have 40 acres of land, most of it covered in shrubs and forest, so space and bee food isn't a problem here and no neighbors that may be bothered. - Well except for the ducks…😉

Any thought appreciated! Thank you very much in advance for your help!
 

R2elk

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… and i am a bit confused about the things that i really need and where to obtain those. Read a lot of books about how to keep bees and compiled a list of the must-have things (alphabetical order):

Bee Brush - There are cheap brushes available with plastic bristles and expensive ones with horsetail-hair bristles; What does a beginner really need?
Bee Hives - i have decided to go with the Langstroth hives as they are most common, hence there are also a lot of different sub-types available here, full height, ½ height, … I assume that you cannot fit different heights into the same centrifuge for honey extraction? Are the supers from different manufacturers interchangeable?
Bee suit, jacket and/or veil - There are so many different types of protective "armor" out there, what does somebody really need? Would wearing rubber-boots, a thick jeans (work-trousers), bee jacket , veil and gloves be sufficient? Or is a »bunny-suit« sufficient.
Gloves - What type material works best as gloves? Leather or synthetics? - For sure my leather work-gloves won't work as they don't fully cover my wrists.
Hive Tool(s) - i guess the more different you have the better?
Smoker - I assume stainless steel works best? and again the price range is from cheap to gold-plated… What are those smoker-pellets made of? Are those good or is it better to use something else? - I remember my uncle (who hat several dozen hives) was using cotton, flax and sawdust from his own wood-working shop in his smoker.

Where do you buy your bee-stuff?
Is buying a »starter-set« online a recommended option?

I thought about starting with 2-3 hives next spring, is that a good number for a beginner? - I have 40 acres of land, most of it covered in shrubs and forest, so space and bee food isn't a problem here and no neighbors that may be bothered. - Well except for the ducks…😉

Any thought appreciated! Thank you very much in advance for your help!
I get most of my supplies from Mann Lake.

It depends where you are located as to where you will get your bees. Wherever you are going to get the bees, it is time to order them now.

I recommend to start with one hive and add more hives in the future.

If you can purchase used equipment, it will save you money.

You can also check out this thread.

Bee Brush - gentle bristles

Bee Hives - hive bodies are typically 9 5/8" deep. Many use two hive bodies stacked but you can use one or even use a pair of deep supers as a hive body. the supers 6 5/8" get stacked on top of the hive bodies and are typically where you will steal the honey from.

Other items you will want are feeders so that you can give your new bees a good start.

Gloves are typically elbow length. Cotton or soft leather will work.

I wear a jacket with a hood attached. Some where the full body suit. I just wear my Wranglers with my leather boots.

Good luck.
 

Field Bee

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Bee Brush - Some beekeepers use a goose feather or a duck wing. It's not a tool you'll reach for much but its handy to have. Soft bristles are better and you dont want to brush the bees, you want to flick them out of the way with the brush. Slow brushing will give you angry bees.

Beehive - Langstroth is the way to go. You just have to decide on 8 or 10 frame hive bodies and deeps or mediums. I have both 8 and 10 frame boxes; I like the 8. I use 2 deeps for brood chambers and mediums for honey. It's just my preference you can go with what you like. I also use wood frames with plastic extra heavy waxed foundation from Acorn. Wooden hive boxes are interchangeable, polystyrene hives are not. The exception is BeeMax poly hives will work with wood. BeeMax hive top feeders are good. You can get a lot of feed in a hive fast. Most extractors will take deep, or medium frames. My Maxant 1400 takes 10 deeps or 20 medium/shallow frames. Don't buy used equipment, if any the boxes came from bees with American Foul Brood you're done before you started. Don't do it. Start with at least 2 hives. If you end up with a weak or queenless hive you can add eggs and brood from your other colony.

Bee suit, jacket and/or veil/gloves - I just use a veil. Start out with what makes you comfortable. As you gain experience you won't use gloves much. Nitrile gloves are very popular now, I found that they always rip and are uncomfortable. The few times I wear gloves I use the goat skin gloves from Betterbee. They're excellent.

Hive Tool(s) - Standard hive tools and J-Hook/Hook end tools are probably the most popular. My favorite hive tools are from Hudson Valley Bee Supply. The 7" Jero standard hive tool and the Thorne hive tool. You can't have too many :).

Smoker - The 2 most common sizes are the 4x7 and the 4x10. Get the 4x10, it holds more fuel for longer working times. Betterbee, Mann Lake, Dadant, they're all good pick one you like. The important thing is to clean them when creosote builds up. Burn it out with a torch and hit it with a small wire brush. The pellet fuel I believe is made from wood and I know some beekeepers who love using it. I use cedar shavings. Beekeepers use all kinds of stuff for smoker fuel, just dont use anything that may have chemicals in it.

There's a lot of good suppliers out there. Betterbee, Mann Lake, Dadant, Blue Sky. Ive purchased equipment from most of them at least once. If you do the numbers on starter sets it usually works out better to just pick out what you want. Whether you have 4 or 40 acres it really doesnt matter, bees are going to cover approximately a 2 to 2 1/2-mile radius which works out to be about 8,000 to 12,000 acres. Find a map tool online that covers radius and drop a point for a 2-mile radius where you're going to put the hives and you will get a pretty good idea the area they will cover.
 

WannaBeHillBilly

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I get most of my supplies from Mann Lake.

It depends where you are located as to where you will get your bees. Wherever you are going to get the bees, it is time to order them now.

I recommend to start with one hive and add more hives in the future.

If you can purchase used equipment, it will save you money.

You can also check out this thread.

Bee Brush - gentle bristles

Bee Hives - hive bodies are typically 9 5/8" deep. Many use two hive bodies stacked but you can use one or even use a pair of deep supers as a hive body. the supers 6 5/8" get stacked on top of the hive bodies and are typically where you will steal the honey from.

Other items you will want are feeders so that you can give your new bees a good start.

Gloves are typically elbow length. Cotton or soft leather will work.

I wear a jacket with a hood attached. Some where the full body suit. I just wear my Wranglers with my leather boots.

Good luck.
Thank you very much for the link to Mann Lake, they have great stuff!
Buying used stuff? - I am searching on CraigsList and eBay for months, it seems that everybody around here is getting bees next spring. The few items that showed up, were already gone when i called…

And i totally forgot about feeders, added them to the list. Yes, during the time when new hives are usually established there's not much flowering going on... Though i do have a large willow-tree at my pond.

I am not allergic at all to insect stings, so i will try a veil and a pair of gloves instead of wearing a full-body-condom. A rain-jacket with my work trousers and rubber boots should keep the bees away from my skin. I'm not going to monkey-dance around the hives, but move slowly. I remember my uncle wasn't even wearing gloves when he handled the bees. Yes, he got stung sometimes, but he also told me that he got used to it.
 

Margali

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Get on Facebook and web to find you local beekeeper groups. They can give you a lot of necessary info. For instance, I used veil, gloves, sweatshirt and FR jeans in Iowa. In my area of Texas with Africanized/hyper agressive bees that would be insane.

Clubs will be good way to find local beeks selling packages and nucs for spring. Many also have high $ equipment like extractors to share.
 

R2elk

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Thank you very much for the link to Mann Lake, they have great stuff!
Buying used stuff? - I am searching on CraigsList and eBay for months, it seems that everybody around here is getting bees next spring. The few items that showed up, were already gone when i called…

And i totally forgot about feeders, added them to the list. Yes, during the time when new hives are usually established there's not much flowering going on... Though i do have a large willow-tree at my pond.

I am not allergic at all to insect stings, so i will try a veil and a pair of gloves instead of wearing a full-body-condom. A rain-jacket with my work trousers and rubber boots should keep the bees away from my skin. I'm not going to monkey-dance around the hives, but move slowly. I remember my uncle wasn't even wearing gloves when he handled the bees. Yes, he got stung sometimes, but he also told me that he got used to it.
I used gloves and a veil for a very long time. I find the veil part of the combo jacket much sturdier.

When working with a new package, I often do not wear any protective clothing. They are extremely gentle at that time. About the only way that I have gotten stung when working with a package of bees is by accidentally squeezing a bee which will then retaliate.
 

CLSranch

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Here is wear I got mine. Like R2elk said you are running out of time for ordering. Also Beesource is a bee only online community like BYH and has a for sale section and lots of info if you have the time to catch up on it.
 

WannaBeHillBilly

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Just read all of this again and stumbled over this from @R2elk :
It depends where you are located as to where you will get your bees. Wherever you are going to get the bees, it is time to order them now.
What do you mean with buying the bees now? - I want to start in spring. Not now.
Looked around on some web-sites and companies like for example RuralKing or TSC don't sell live bees at the moment. But i got a CraigsList hit for 5-frame nucs, Saskatraz $225 Italian/VSH $200, https://charlestonwv.craigslist.org/grd/d/salters-frame-deep-nucs/7424056771.html
But i'd like to start with a bee-box instead of a NUC, assuming that it is easier to transfer the bees into their new home. (?)
What is actually better for beginners like me: Buing a NUC or packaged bees?
 

WannaBeHillBilly

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Get on Facebook and web to find you local beekeeper groups. They can give you a lot of necessary info. For instance, I used veil, gloves, sweatshirt and FR jeans in Iowa. In my area of Texas with Africanized/hyper agressive bees that would be insane.

Clubs will be good way to find local beeks selling packages and nucs for spring. Many also have high $ equipment like extractors to share.
I've heart that FakeBook recommendation a lot, but i don't like "SugarMountain" and FakeBook. Bad enough that my cell is jinxed from the "Kraken" and my package-box is filled up by a south-American river…
:hide
 
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