What are the 3 basics to start beekeeping? Part 1 – Essential Beekeeping Equipment

What are the 3 basics to start beekeeping? – Part 1 – Essential Beekeeping Equipment

Have you ever wondered what you need to start Beekeeping?

You only want a couple of Beehives and a bit of honey and you want to help save the Honey Bee and want pollination for your garden with fruit trees and flowers.

When you get a Beehive you want to feel confident in working it and working with your Bees – who sting !!

This is a 3 part BLOG, this is the first of the three basics to get you started.

What are the three BASIC’s?

Margaret Checks Remuera 1BASIC One – 7 Essential pieces of Equipment
BASIC Two – 5 Essential Beehive Components
BASIC Three – 6 Essential pieces of information for Rules and Risks

You’ll need some good quality essential Beekeeper gear, Beekeeping tools, basic beehive woodware for a season and information on what you need to know about the rules and risks.

This is “BASIC One”.

Margaret-in-New-Ventilated-Mesh-Beesuit

This is the first BASIC – the 7 Essential beekeeping pieces of equipment – Simply put, these are what you will use to give you confidence to inspect your Beehive, keep you safe and manage your Honey Bees.

Here at kiwimana we use all these pieces of equipment regularly, we believe they will help make your beekeeping easier and are what we believe are essentials. Each item has a specific purpose to achieve the outcome for the Beekeeper to be able to manage their Beehives efficiently, doing it safely with the right tools.

…okay so what do we start with first ?

Beekeeper Gear

Best advice is to have gear that will make you feel confident when opening-up a hive. Simply here at kiwimana we use, leather beekeeping gloves with longer sleeves and a full-mesh-Bee suit.

Essential 1 – Gloves.
Bee GlovesEssential 2 – Full Bee Suit.Childrens Beekeeping Suit Prod

Beekeeper Tools

These tools are designed so you can open up a beehive, manipulate and clean or remove wax or propolis and lift and move frames – very important job for the Beekeeper.

Essential 3 – Smoker.
Used to keep Bees calm and move them out of the way
bee-smoker-with-plastic-bellows

Essential 4 – Hive Tool.

You will need a versatile and strong tool – Tasks it is used for : removing wax, removing crazy comb and propolis.

Kiwi Hive Tool
Kiwi Hive Tool
  • With the right tool you should be able to move or lift or clean frames without damaging your comb.
  • The tool must be sharp enough to push in-between hive box levels and then as a lever to separate the boxes…but not to cause too much damage to the boxes.
  • A hook should be part of your tool, the hook helps lift the frame up so you can grab the frame easier.
  • A bent end so as to put between the frames so you don’t damage wax-comb.

Essential 5 – Capping-Scratcher.
This is such a great tool for inspecting cells, removing larvae. Also for scrapping along capped-honey to enable the girls to feed off the honey cells.
Capping Scratcher Yellow
– It is able to be delicate enough to just remove a single cap on a cell, for checking larvae health.
– Yet, it is strong enough to remove drone larvae to check for varroa presence.

Capping Scratcher
Checking for mites with Capping Scratcher

Essential 6 – Brush
Bee BrushYou need a very soft bristled-brush which should be tapped from behind the Bees, rather than a sweeping-motion, which can damage wings. It can be used to ‘encourage’ bees to move but only used softly to coax them to where you want them to go.

Essential 7 – Frameholder.
This is one of the bestus tools ever!
It saves you bending down, as it is designed for you to place your frames on, holding them freeing your hands up when inspecting your beehive.

Such a helpful tool makes inspecting frames so easy
Such a helpful tool makes inspecting frames so easy

– Traditionally beekeepers would put frames on the ground and lean them against the hive – the problem with this is you are probably walking around the beehive and busy with inspecting so it’s easy to stand on them and damage them, you can lose bees too.
– It also holds the frame so you can lift the bottom of it (as the top-bar rests on the frame-holder) so you can look into the cells, so helpful as the cells are angled-upwards.
– It holds the weight of the frame so you don’t have to – which can be especially heavy especially in Summer Honey production.

Spring 2016 1
– From a Beekeeper-Hygiene and best practice point-of-view, the frames are held up off the ground, so the best thing is that it means you won’t pick-up dirt and bring bacteria or bugs from the ground and put it in your beehive – which needs to be the cleanest place ever – so use one of these and the girls will thank you and so will your back.

Heres how it works…
By placing the frame-holder on the side of the box, you can remove the first side frame and place on the frame-holder, which gives you the ability to leave the frame out so you create a frame-space in the box.
– What this means is that you can move frames along within the hive-box as you inspect each one which means you don’t remove brood frames which can be chilled by being outside.

Well folks that’s the 7 Essential BASICs for the equipment you’ll need to get you started.

Part Two coming out soon with BASICS TWO – 5 Essential Beehive components to get you through a ‘Bee Season’.

Thanks for reading, we appreciate your time, and thanks for beeing part of the …kiwimana buzz…
Regards,
Margaret

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10 thoughts on “What are the 3 basics to start beekeeping? Part 1 – Essential Beekeeping Equipment

  1. Michael Hooper says:

    Hi Margaret, thanks for great, informative articles, a quick house keeping question, what do you use or how do you clean your gloves, I’m having difficulty getting mine clean from wax etc, many thanks
    Michael

    • Margaret Groot says:

      Hi Michael, You’e welcome glad you enjoyed it ….yes gloves get pretty dirty and propolised, some folks put them in the freezer, then the propolis goes hard and can be cracked off. Then the gloves can be hand-washed in a sink ( not in a washing machine ) in a warm water and bleach wash, then rinsed, then a normal hand-wash in a sink, then you’ll need to put them on while wet to make them stretch to fit as they will shrink a bit, then leave to dry in a hot-water cupboard or some where warm and while drying put on to make sure they go back to the right size. I have used “Jif” scourer with cold water, it does work, but you need to scrub a bit and then rinse a few times. Thanks again Michael all the best. Regards, Margaret

  2. Jooria Satay Baruth says:

    Your above ideas and guidelines are really very interesting and fruitful. Thank you very much.

  3. Alastair says:

    Very interesting Margaret, we have 6 acres with lots of flower about in summer and as semi retired I would like to get involved with a hive or two. I need to read more and talk to someone about how to get started and what ongoing attention is required to have a healthy hive.

    • Margaret Groot says:

      Hi Alastair, Thanks for your comments. You could use our free “Bee Club map” and find a local club and talk to them as they may know someone in your area who could help – here’s the link : https://kiwimana.co.nz/beekeeping-clubs-new-zealand/ Sounds like the bees will love your property : ) and may I suggest that you’ll have fun with starting with one next Spring, get comfortable with them, see them grow, then get them through the following Winter (which is a test in itself) and then split them in the following Spring if you use the spilt method we use, the colony will raise their own queen which will give you good genetics who know your area and more importantly you’ll learn a lot from doing the splitting – here’s the link to our BLOG article on the method : https://kiwimana.co.nz/how-to-split-a-beehive/. All the best with Alastair you’ll love what the Bees will bring to you, they are so awesome. Regards, Margaret

  4. Glenn says:

    HI Margaret,
    Thought your information on essential equipment was excellent and I learned something new. The capping scratcher – this item of equipment was not around 20+ years ago when I first kept bee – being in the pre varroa days. Looks very handy and will get one on order.
    Thanks for all your support to a returning old B

    GlennL-G

  5. blair nicholson says:

    hi margaret im not a bee keeper i am a bus driver and i need your advise regarding bee hives and bee pollen . can you please tell me are there any rules on where a hive can be placed, or are there laws that require bee keepers to apply good work practice’s in a populated area. our bus deport is less than 50 meters next to a owner with a couple of hives , not sure on how many at this stage. the main problem is many of the drivers are experiencing what we think is bee pollen all over our cars. can this be coming from the hives, is there a law that requires bee keepers to place there hives from a certain distance from a populated area. we know this problem has been going on for the time the owner had moved to this area it has been a very stress full time for the drivers concerned and very costly process when having to spend money for cleaning their cars on a daily basis . i would appreciate any thoughts or advise on this matter thank you.

    • Margaret Groot says:

      Hi Blair, Yes this time of the year the Bees are very busy so bee ‘droppings’ increase. We use warm water and some dishwashing detergent to wipe away. I assume that generally over Winter and Autumn its not a problem ? This is nature at work, simply the same as bird droppings not a lot that can be done about that. However, is it possible you could talk to the Beehive owner and ask him to reposition the hive entrance so it changes the flightpath of the Honey Bees ? In terms of laws….We understand that different councils have different ‘BYLAWS’ – in Auckland we can have as many hives as we want but if there is any percieved ‘nuisance’ caused, a council officer can go and talk to the Beekeeper, sometimes Beehives are shifted to change flightpaths while Bees are undertaking heavier foraging in Summer and repositioned at the end of heavy honey flow. Please know that No beekeeper wants to cause any harm to others by having beehives… so I think with the right approach you could come to some mutual understanding. All the best. Regards, Margaret and Gary …it’s the kiwimana buzz…

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