Purchasing a quality Bee suit
The first thing you need to become a beekeeper is a quality suit. I choose to purchase all my suits from Brushy Mountain Bee Farms . They have the best suits on the market. They are tested in Africanized bee yards. Now what you need to understand though, is that bee suits are designed to prevent bee stings but they are not bee proof.
What size bee suit should I order?
You should definitely order your bee suit a size larger than you wear in normal clothes. You will be glad for the extra room when you are bending and kneeling and will be less likely to get tears. But more importantly it will reduce the likelihood that you will have the suit flush against your skin. That is when you get stung. If the suit is ever tight against your skin then the bees can sting through that.
Getting Bee gloves
Measure your hands according to the measurements on the website. I have found the vent hole type gloves always break for me. But I also live in a hot climate and I am very hard on my clothes and work gear. So I choose to go with the all leather gloves. Goat or cow hide is fine. I have seen no noticeable difference. You should grease your gloves monthly. Put some lard or leather conditioner on your gloves to keep them soft and supple.
Getting your bee boxes
You can find bee boxes already made and painted and ready to go or completely unassembled and you put the nails in and paint them yourself. There are also several kinds. There are top bar bee hives, Warre bee hives, and Langstroth bee hives. I chose to go with the simple Langstroth hives. I consulted my friend, and local beekeeper, Derek Abello, a Phoenix Beekeeper to see where he purchased his hives.
He is a local expert and has spoken at many communities in Arizona, always giving on his time and knowledge. He also does bee removals. He removes the bees alive without using any of those toxic poisons or chemicals that the horrible exterminators are using.
He has all three kinds of hives but recommends the langstroth above all. He purchases his boxes from Dadant and they often have sales so look for those.
Other things you will need as a beekeeper
There are always hive tools you can purchase such as this bee hive tool on amazon. And you might want a bee brush. There are lots of different odds and ends that you can get to make life easier. You might order a catalog from Brushy mountain and Dadant to see what you think you will like. But the essentials are suit (with veil), gloves, and bee box.
I congratulate you on your new and exciting journey! Beekeeping is a very exciting hobby and promises a lifetime of rewards for those who venture and dare to take the leap. Stay tuned for the next article where I will tell you where to get your new 20,000 pets! Or aka–your first hive!