Beekeeping may seem like a monumental task if you have little or no experience. Don't get discouraged. I'll take you through the process one step at a time to make it easier.
1. Do some homework. It always helps to have a firm foundation when starting a new venture. This can come from books, magazines, classes, videos, etc. Take what you watch, hear, and read with a grain of salt. Not everything out there is good material or accurate. Keep in mind that what works in one area for beekeeping may or may not work where you are. I have placed some resources I like in the "links" section.
2. Find a local club or mentor and interact with other beekeepers. Others in your area already have knowledge and experience that you can use. Doing your homework goes a long way with other beekeepers and using the right names of items helps keep conversations flowing.
NOTE: Clubs often have beginner classes and field days for hands-on experience.
3. It's time to get equipment. Some equipment is standard but some varies by locale. Your club and/or research should direct you to what works best for where you are located. You will want to have your equipment assembled and ready to go prior to getting your bees.
4. Now it's time for bees! Not all bees are the same. There are different types of honeybees. The Italian honeybee is common due to its gentle nature and honey production, but you may prefer different genetics based on your needs. Bees are typically pre-ordered in winter or early spring for spring delivery. Many factors can impact bee delivery including colony build-up and weather.
5. Once the bees arrive, place them in the equipment (another topic) and you are off and running.
Here is a listing of some standard equipment used by new beekeepers in Indiana when getting started. Some items may have variations, and some do not. One example is the hive tool being wedged or hooked. The different variations both work, they just provide different features that you can tailor to your particular beekeeping style and situation. While our shop sells everything listed, someone who is handy may be able to make some of it as well. We have divided the list into two sections. The first section is the equipment for the bees and the second section is equipment for the beekeeper.
(We will start from the ground and work our way to the top of the hive.)
1. You will want something to keep the hive from sitting directly on the ground. This extends the life of the components and can help deter some pests. A hive stand is one option.
2. Bottom board with an entrance reducer (and mouse guard for winter).
3. Hive bodies with frames. Here we typically use 2 deep bodies with 10 frames each
4. Inner Cover
5. Top Cover
6. When collecting honey we add a queen excluder and additional boxes with frames. We use medium supers for our honey collection.
1. Protective Clothing. We recommend a full coverall suit with veil if you are new or have reservations about getting into your hive. This type of suit offers the most protection but it does get pretty hot in warm conditions.
2. Smoker. You want to keep those bees calm when working.
3. Hive Tool. This is used to get into the hive and do your work. Bees will glue and seal everything up tight.
4. Bee Brush. This will help keep you from accidentally squishing any bees that made their way to the top edges as you work and when closing things up.
5. Frame Grip. This is handy for new beekeepers who are not used to handling frames and helps prevent accidental damage.