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Los Olivos Honey Bees
Los Olivos Honey Bees
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 Recommended Equipment for the Beginning BeekeeperBeginners 
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Our suggestions of equipment for the beginning beekeeper.

We recommend 10-Frame Langstroth equipment, which is the standard type of bee equipment.

See Easy Ordering for a suggested order for the beginner.

Per Hive - Required Equipment 

To start with, you'll need the following, per hive:
  • 1 - Telescoping Outer Cover

    An outer cover is the topmost element in a bee hive. A telescoping cover fits over and on top of the hive, to provide insulation and protection from weather elements.
  • 1 - Inner Cover


    An inner cover prevents the bees from glueing the outer cover to the hive body with propolis. Without an inner cover, it can be difficult to remove the outer cover. A notched inner cover allows additional hive ventilation, and provides the bees with an upper entrance.
  • 2 - Deep Hive Boxes with Frames

    Two deep hive boxes is sufficient space for bees to maintain their brood nest. Alternatively, three medium boxes could be used. We prefer wooden hive boxes with wooden frames and plastic foundation. Hive boxes can be purchased painted white, unpainted, or unassembled and unpainted.
  • 1 - Bottom Board


    A bottom board is the bottom part of the bee hive. A plain bottom board is fine, but a screened bottom board allows for more ventilation, better pest management, and does not collect water when it rains.
  • 1 - Entrance Reducer

    An entrance reducer rests on the bottom board, immediately in front of the hive entrance. The entrance reducer allow the beekeeper to modify the size of the hive entrance. If the hive is weak, the smallest setting is used. If the hive is of moderate strength, the middle setting is used. If the hive is strong, the entrance reducer is removed entirely. Bees need to be able to defend their entrance. If the entrance is too large for the strength of the hive, the hive can be easily overwhelmed by robber bees, yellow jackets, or other pests.
  • 1 - Hive Stand

    A hive stand keeps the hive off the ground. With the hive stand shown above, each leg can be placed in a can containing a mixture or oil and/or water. This moat barrier helps keep ants from getting in. In our area, Argentine Ants are a major pest of bee hives. The hive stand shown above is adjustable, which means it can support either 8- or 10-frame equipment.
In the second year, you'll also need the following, per hive:
  • 2 - Honey (Medium) Supers

    Honey supers are where the bees store excess honey. This excess honey is typically available to the beekeeper for harvesting. Honey supers are placed above the brood nest boxes. Again, we prefer wooden supers with wooden frames and plastic foundation.
  • 1 - Queen Excluder

    A queen excluder prevents the queen from laying eggs in the honey supers. The queen excluder is placed above the brood nest, immediately below any honey supers. As the queen and drones are larger than the workers, the excluder prevents them from reaching the upper part of the hive. We prefer the wooden-framed metal queen excluder shown above, as the metal rods are smooth and relatively easy for the bees to pass through. Cheaper plastic queen excluders are available, but they may cause more damage to the worker bee's wings.

Additional Equipment, to tend your bees 

To take care of your bees, you'll need:
  • 1 - Bee Jacket with Veil or Full Bee Suit


    A veil is required, a jacket is nice, and a full suit provides extra protection. There are many clothing options for sting protection. The economy hooded jacket shown above provides excellent protection.
  • 1 pair - Gloves

     or  or 

    Long leather gloves are only a necessity if the bees are in a bad mood. Otherwise, short leather gloves, nitrile gloves, or even no gloves can be used. We prefer using disposable nitrile gloves when harvesting honey or routine hive examinations. Leather gloves can quickly become dirty with honey and propolis, whereas nitrile gloves can be discarded when messy.
  • 1 - Smoker

    A smoker allows the beekeeper to calm the bees. A few puffs of cool white smoke is often all that is needed. Smoke does two things to the bees: it disrupts their pheromone (smell) communication, and it causes the bees to gorge themselves on honey. Both conditions cause the bees to become more docile. However, too much smoke, or hot smoke will agitate the colony. Of course, a smoker also requires matches or a lighter, as well as fuel.
  • 2 - Hive Tools

    Hive tools are used to pry open boxes that the bees glue together with propolis, and also to loosen frames from the boxes.

Optional Equipment 

As with most hobbies, there's plenty of other equipment that'd be nice to have. We've only listed a few items here, as most items are outside the scope of this web page, which is intended to be an equipment guide for beginning beekeepers.
  • 1 - Frame Grip

    A frame grip makes it easy to remove a frame from a box. It's a very useful tool, and we highly recommend gettting one.
  • 1 - Bee Brush

    A bee brush allows bees to be gently brushed off a surface such as a frame. Often, however, a sharp shake is a better way to dislodge bees from a surface. Used incorrectly, a bee brush can agitate the bees.
  • 1 - Feeder

    A feeder is used to feed sugar water to the bees. Feeding is sometimes necessary so that the bees do not starve. For example, a small colony in the winter time needs to be fed. There are several types of feeders. We prefer the top feeder shown above.
  • Honey Extracting Equipment

Easy Ordering 

Here's a recommended order:   (prices as of 2019)

via Mann Lake

For each hive, order:
  • HK-150 - 10-Frame Painted Growing Apiary Kit (about $284)
  • HD-709 - Adjustable Hive Stand (about $59)
To tend your bees, order:
  • CV-410 - Economy Hooded Jacket Large (about $65) see catalog for your size, or another brand of jacket
  • CL-167 - Economy Vented Leather Gloves Large (about $20) see catalog for your size, or another style of gloves
  • HD-556 - Smoker - With Guard - Wood Bellow (about $40)
  • HD-584 - Hive Tool (about $5) get two
22-April-2024 10:15:23
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