As an aspiring beekeeper you should make sure that you have all the personal equipment you need to handle your bees before they arrive. This equipment would consist of protective clothing, hive tool, smoker, and a good reference book on beginning beekeeping.
There are basically two methods to choose from. First, a hat and veil along with coveralls or your own clothing like jeans, etc. Second, a commercial suit or jacket with veil attached.
A veil is the most important and should always be worn when handling bees. It’s no fun getting stung in the face! If your pants are not elasticized, always tuck them into your socks to keep the bees out.
I advise the new beekeeper to wear gloves. This will help to build confidence in handling the bees and prevent a lot of stings. Gloves as well keep the hands clean as they would soon get sticky and full of propolis. Gloves should be a comfortable fit with long gauntlets.
This is an important tool to the beekeeper. It is used to lever the hive bodies apart, or for separating frames. Screwdrivers or old chisels are not recommended as these will damage the hive parts, often leaving holes for the bees to get out or wasps and ants to get in.
A smoker is necessary when working the bees. Smoke is used to control the bees, and a little smoke goes a long way! A reasonably large smoker is a good investment. It is easier to use and does not need refueling as often.
A Good Beginner’s Reference Book
Generally you will have to rely on books to guide your progress. A good starter reference is essential. We recommend any of the following:
- The Honey Bee — V.R. Vickery
- Starting Right with Bees — A.I. Root
- The How-To-Do-It Book of Beekeeping — Richard Taylor
- Beekeeper’s Handbook — Diana Sammataro and Alphonse Aritabile