Sunday, January 17, 2010

Where to start? Simple question.

When I started thinking about this new Hobby, I thought how hard can this be? A big box, some bees, and all the honey we can eat, and don't forget $$$ lots of easy Money. Boy was I wrong. Just buying the equipment was very complicated to say the least. Everyone has their own way of doing things. As that old beekeeper saying goes, ask three beekeepers the same question and you will get four different answers. So I decided to join some forums to get some help, and questions answered. Three forums I have found very helpful are and The great thing about Beemaster is they have this thing called Ventrilo voice chat. Easy to install and use. So if you are not the best and fastest at typing all you need is a mic and speakers and you will be up and talking in no time. Then there is Bee Source it has all kinds of beekeepers from commercial to side liners and Hobby people. Another great site to find out about alternative ways of working with Bess is . The Barefoot Beekeeper is about Natural, Chemical-free beekeeping in top bare hives. These are only three of the many web sites that pertain to bees and  bee product . Remember keep an open mind and find out what is right for your life style and go with it. All three sites are full of friendly people who, like you care about bees and will try and help with all your questions.

So let’s get back to my things to do list.
EQUIPMENT is my first job to tackle. What and how much do I need, because I don't know if I will like this hobby, or maybe I am going thru a mid life crises like my son tells me. So the first place I stopped was Google search and put in Beekeeping equipment. There are so many beekeeping equipment sites on the internet that I did not know where to start. So I found the closets one's to my home and ordered Catalogs from each. But I also looked on their sites. What do I need? I back tracked back to the forums with more questions. By this time I figured everyone would be sick and tired of my Rookie questions, but to my surprise they still were willing to help. So I started.

What type of equipment?
Large, medium, or small supers
Ten or eight frame. Or should I take a 10 frame and make it a nine frame with spacers, or maybe make a ten frame an eight frame?
What type wood? Pine, Cyprus etc….
Box or rabbit cut?
Natural or plastic foundation?
Telescope, Flat, Migratory, or reversible cover?
Solid, or screened, or screened beetle trap, or double screen bottom boards?
Slatted rack or not?
Inner cover or not?
Queen Excluder, wood, plastic, or metal? Or just don’t use one.
Feeders ? Boardman, plastic feeder pail, plastic entrance one piece, plastic hive top feeder? So to say the least everyone uses some thing different and each climate location needs somethings different .But I did have a lot to look at.

I was back to square one until some beekeepers told me to.

Before you do anything read Beekeepers for Dummies. Then ask yourself why do I  want to take care of bees? Make a million $$$, save the environment; help out in your garden become a commercial Beekeeper etc…? Answering this question will help you decide what equipment to start out with.

Most all beekeepers I talked to said to start out with at least two Hives so you can see the differences and tell if something is going wrong. Find a local Beekeeping Association . Great group I have gone to two meeting and have learned a lot. I have also signed up to take the Beginers Beekeeping Course.
 I ordered the book and read it and began my wish list which has changed several times after talking to more beekeepers and getting there input.

This is my first equipment order.
I will start with two Hives both having.
Telescoping Top
No Inner covers
After Reading several comments about not getting an inner cover I decided it would be best to get that or a jack hamer. So I ordered two inner covers.
This is why. When you us a top cover, you will also need a inner cover, to help with condensation and for ease of getting the outer cover off your hive, using just a top cover the bees will fill the edges with Propolis which is a kind of bee cement and because of the shape of the outer cover you will not be able to get your hive tool under the cover to pry it off.
If you do not want to use a inner cover you can order a Migratory, Flat, or a reversible cover. These covers are very similar in construction with some slight variation. Check out Rossmans Apiaries at they have the three covers I have mentioned.
All medium eight frame supers. Supers made of Cyprus.
I will use natural Bees wax foundation small cell.
I will use a slatted Rack from Better Bee they offer the one that is vertical that goes in the same direction as the frames and a screened bottom board with an extension kit for small hive beetles.
An entrance reducer and Hive top feeder, one hive tool a brush, professional 10in smoker funnel top. I was told not to get a round top it always comes off. A Bee jacket and Vail combination from it is called the Ultra Breeze a little pricey but I think it will be worth it in the South Carolina heat. So everything is ordered next time I will talk about putting the equipment together and painting.


  1. If you use telescoping cover and No Inner covers hope you owe a chain saw

    Jim of MA

  2. NO kidding... I have gone through all similiar issues in my start. I have done things a bit different. I have been reading for about 2 years off and on and a little OJT with friend in Maine and here in PA. I have started with 2 hives both will have deep bottom supers with medium tops. Slatted racks, screen bottom boards, inner covers and standard telescoping covers but dang I wanted English copper tops but too pricey. Looking forward to reading and exchanging info.. btw I went to HS in Summerville. Go Gamecocks.. 8)