Loving the herd life
- Jan 10, 2022
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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.