Before I took the plunge on my beekeeping venture, I spent a couple of years researching how to care for bees, what to buy in order to properly care for bees, how to harvest honey, etc. I researched websites, watched countless hours of YouTube videos, and sought advice from seasoned beekeepers. One beekeeper told me that if you ask 50 beekeepers the same question, you will get 50 answers, and they will all be correct. In other words, you just have to do it to see what methods and tools work for you.
Every beekeeping supply company sells their own “beginning beekeeper kit“. Some of the tools in this kit are just plain unnecessary. Here are my top 5 beekeeping tools I cannot live without in my bee yard. But don’t take my word for it, go ask 49 more beekeepers and see what they tell ya! 😉
- The Backyard Beekeeper is BY FAR the best, most complete, most useful resource on beekeeping. I bought SEVERAL “how to” books, but this one is definitely the best. Most of the other “how to” books I purchased had great photographs, but that was about it. This one is a little pricier than others, but it is TOTALLY worth it.
- J Hook Hive Tool. This handy little gem is a life saver when you are in your bee yard There are other variations of this tool, but the one with the little “J” shape at the end is what you want. When frames have been in a hive for a while, the bees will cover them with a substance called propolis that will make them very sticky. A gloved hand is unable to easily pull a frame out of the box when it is covered with this sticky substance. The “J” hook works as a pry bar to assist in lifting the sticky frame from the box.
- Beekeeper’s Jacket. You don’t necessarily need the fancy full-body beekeeping suits, but you do need to insure that your face is covered properly. I used to have just the hat with the veil, and it worked fine, but I upgraded to the jacket with the hood built into it and attached by a zipper. Even the feistiest of bees cannot get into that. It is a little on the pricey side, but in my opinion, it is a solid investment, considering how disastrous it would be for a bee to find its way inside the elastic bottom of the veil in the hat/veil combo. Another little nugget for you – bees are not fond of dark colors, and have been known to be a little aggressive to me when I have worn dark colors in the bee yard.
- Long gloves. Long gloves seem redundant because I put them over the top of my long sleeved jacket, but because my hands are always the closest thing to the bees, I want them doubly protected. These gloves are made from goat skin, and I have never been stung through them, even when the bees were crawling all over me.
- A good smoker and fuel. I won’t get into the reasons why beekeepers use smokers in this post, but I will tell you that they are a must-have. I will tell you that all smokers are not created equal. Case in point, the smoker on the right was my first smoker. This was an enormous waste of money, and is not very effective at all. (Plus, I am offended by the stupid pink fake zebra print on the bellow. UGH!) Invest the money and buy an nice smoker. The smoker on the left is the one I use now and I LOVE it. It has a protective “cage” around it to help keep you from getting burned. There will be a fire burning inside this smoker, therefore the outside of it will be HOT, and you will burn yourself if you touch it. How do I know this? Stupid pink fake zebra print left a mark on me once upon a time. I got the larger smoker from my local bee keeping supply shop, Werner’s Trading Company, but they got it from their supplier, which is Kelley Beekeeping. I use burlap fuel to start the fire in my smoker, then pile oak leaves and/or pine straw on top of it once it get going good. The burlap fuel in the link above is a little on the pricey side, but I put the link there to give you an example of what I use.
I hope this post has helped you decide what tools are the most important to choose when starting your beekeeping venture. Getting started is very expensive, and it is easy to get caught up in a lot of extra tools that are not really necessary, especially if you are new at this. What are your favorite beekeeping tools? What did you use most when you got started? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!
Some of the links within are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase some items, I will receive an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. Also, 100% of any money made from this blog is put back into the feed, care, and well being of our cows and bees, as well as the care of the land upon which they are fed. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255
Join the newsletter
Never miss a beekeeping post! Sign up to receive our newsletter.