Beekeeping 101: Getting Started Part 2—Beekeeping Equipment

By The Old Farmer's Almanac
Jan 22, 2018


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What supplies will you need to raise bees? Here is a beginner’s guide to the items that will help you be a successful beekeeper.

By now, you’ve learned some tips on where to place your apiary. Here are some tips on interacting with your bees and the equipment that you’ll need to handle them.


There are key items to wear when interacting with bees. Always have a veil for your face and wear clothing that will protect you from stings. Full suits are available for purchase from some companies and beekeeping organizations. These may be best for the beginner. The average cost for these at the time of this writing can range anywhere from $70 to $125. Overall, try to avoid woolen or nylon materials and stick to white or light colors. Some beekeepers forgo gloves in order to manipulate the inside of the hive better, although for a beginner this is generally not recommended.

You will want to wear clothing both that will both protect you and that you don’t mind getting stained. Bees will produce waste that shows up as yellowish marks on your clothing, so you don’t want to be wearing your finest outfit. Close off all potential to getting stung by tucking your pants into your socks and your shirtsleeves into your gloves. Wrap both your wrists and ankles with some type of band to secure your clothing in place.

Be sure to wear clothing that has not previously received stings. Bees release a pheromone when they sting to alert other bees of an attacker. By wearing previously stung clothing, you are basically begging to be stung.

Beekeeping 101: Equipment and Clothing


Besides the hives (which we’ll discuss in the next article), there are three basic supplies you will always want to have when handling bees.

  1. Smoker: Smoke, if used properly and not excessively, will help to calm bees. A large smoker is best, as the smoke lasts for a longer time.
  2. Hive tool: This is a device that is used like a lever to loosen frames and boxes.
  3. Uncapping knife: This device will uncap the wax cells in which honey is stored, making it ready for the next step—the centrifuge.

Beekeeping 101: Equipment and Smoker


Dealers of beekeeping equipment may be listed in the yellow pages of your telephone directory. Otherwise, you can contact the large, national beekeeping supply companies and request a catalog containing their equipment and prices. Here are some suppliers:

Brushy Mountain Bee Farm, 610 Bethany Church Road, Moravian Falls, NC 28654 [(800) 233-7929];

Dadant & Sons, Inc., 51 S. 2nd Street, Hamilton, IL 62341 [(217) 847-3324];

Mann Lake Ltd., 501 S. 1st Street, Hackensack, MN 56452 [(800) 233-6663];

Walter T. Kelley Co., Inc., 3107 P.O. Box 240, Clarkson, KY 42726 [(502) 242-2012].

Some beekeeping equipment companies advertise in bee journals, a single copy of which can be requested from the publishers:
American Bee Journal, 51 S. 2nd Street, Hamilton, IL 62341 [(217) 847-3324];
Bee Culture, A.I. Root Co., 623 W. Liberty Street, Medina, OH 44256 [(800) 289-7668].

Now that you have all the equipment and you have a location for your bees, find out how to build a build a hive—a home for your honeymakers!

About This Blog

Would you like to raise honeybees in your backyard? Here is our free Beekeeping 101 series—a beginner’s guide in 7 chapters. We’ll talk about how to get started raising bees, the clothing and equipment needed, building a hive, collecting honey, and common bee diseases. After this "taste" of honeymaking, you can decide if you're ready to enter the world of beekeeping!

Reader Comments

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Thanks for creating this quick guide to help people get started. I work for a beehive manufacturer called Bee Built in Portland, Oregon that specializes in quality beehives made from sustainable wood. We ship worldwide, with shipment guaranteed within 2 business days. We're looking to find ways to support more efforts like this one and get people started successfully in beekeeping.

We've created a special coupon code for anyone to use at checkout on our site to save 10% on their order. Just enter ALMANAC at checkout! is the website

We'd love to be listed with a link under your list of dealers.


I live in Brooklyn, NY- Coney

I live in Brooklyn, NY- Coney Island. We want to raise bees as an addition to the environment and for school study!! How do we begin the search for surrounding flowers, insecticide spraying, etc? The apiary will be on the roof of a two story church building. Thanks!

Dana! Amazing coincidence! We

Dana! Amazing coincidence! We just had some honey from our local middle school this morning! Congratulations on a great idea! If you haven't already, click on the red Beekeeping button above and carefully read all of the articles (it doesn't take THAT long), which were written especially for folks like you. You'll find that plants like asters and clover can be helpful, and that you want your area to be as -cide free as possible (although it's not as though the bees are just going to hang out on your roof) -- and also that there is much to learn about beekeeping. The thing to do is to get a mentor local to your area to work with you -- which beekeepers love to do! We don't know anything about this group, but for example there apparently is the NYC Beekeepers Assn. Do some research and ask around. Good for you!

I would love to get involved

I would love to get involved in this type of extracurricular activity. Is this very profitable

As an extracurricular

As an extracurricular activity, we assume you mean hobby (no more than 20 hives), we wouldn't bet on a profit. You'd need probably need to have hundreds of hives to start making money but we've never been in that business!  For us, the bees are to help pollinate our gardens.

How do I go about employing

How do I go about employing my bees with local farmers in my area? I don't own a home or land. And I live in town. But I want to do this full time for a career. Possibly turning it into a family business and teach others. Your help and advice would be gold to me. Thank you ; D


+ a 4-season guide to raising chickens!

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