Beginners equipment: What do you need and how to source.

It depends what you want. Also how much you want to spend.

The first lesson is :

  • understand what you need
  • Coming back to the theme, do the introductory course before you start; you will understand what you need and where you might consider purchasing from.

The second lesson is

  • At the start only buy what you need for the first season.

The sky is the limit. But once you have the basic kit, most other things you can obtain as you need them and have learnt about them.

Basic requirements.

My advice is :

1) Two complete hive sets (i.e. floor, brood box, queen excluder, 2 supers, crown board, roof and porter bee escapes, with all the necessary frames and wax foundation). I buy mine as seconds from C Wynn Jones or Thornes 


You can buy kit that is made from furniture grade wood, but the bees do not care. As long as it is dry....

2) Hive tools (good quality and sharp. You only need one, but I always mislay one!

3) Smoker

4) Good quality suit. You can buy cheap suits – but as happened to me a cheap suit that lets bees in soon has you buying a good quality suit.


For hygiene purposes you want a suit that can be put through a 95 degree wash

5) A supply of gloves


Please do not start with heavy duty gauntlets. You will crush bees as you handle frames and this irritates the whole hive and they cannot be sterilised. Best to buy a few pairs of mariglolds.

6) Box of chlorphenamine cheaper if bought in this name (originally called portion). You will get stung and best to be prepared.

7) Source your bees

The bottom line is we spent a fortune bought a complete package, basically all sorts and at premium prices. I seemed a good idea to get a starter kit. We spent more on one hive with a super than I now buy 2 complete hives with two supers.

You might ask why buy two hives?


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  • This week (13-19 July) is Bees’ Needs Week
    10 July 2020
    Bees’ Needs Week is a campaign co-ordinated by Defra to raise awareness of the importance of bees and other pollinators, and to provide practical advice on what we can all do to support them. Many organisations are working together to encourage everyone who can, to do simple things at home - like growing more flowers and cutting grass less often - to help our precious pollinators thrive, and to engage further with nature through citizen science initiatives.
    There’s more information on the Bees’ Needs Website. Throughout the week a variety of content will be shared online including:
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    11 June 2020
    The National Bee Unit is pleased to share a range of presentations created by Fera Science Ltd. presented by Kirsty Stainton on;
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    The presentations can be found on BeeBases pages on Asian hornet and Foulbrood.
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    09 April 2020
    Scottish beekeepers; please read the attached information note from Scottish Government.

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