There are an array of benefits to keeping bees such as helping gardens, producing honey and beeswax. Beeswax can be used for candle making, skin creams and lip balms.
So what does one need to start keeping bees? There are four types of equipment for beekeeping; personal equipment, beehives, extracting equipment and wintering equipment.
For protecting yourself and properly taking care of your bees, you will require a minimum of three important things; a wide brimmed hat with a veil, a hive tool, and a bee smoker. And it should be a wide-brimmed hat; a baseball cap isn’t enough. You need to keep the bees from roaming your head, face and neck as head stings are especially painful. A bee smoker emits a gentle puff of smoke to calm the bees. A hive tool allows you to manipulate the frames that hold cones in the hive.
You can use a bee suit, bee gloves, and high boots for further protection against stings. It may help you feel more comfortable while working around the bees.
Most beehives come with a bottom board and a hive cover and have five layers, known as supers, in between. Supers contain around nine to ten frames of comb. The comb is where the bees rear their larvae, store pollen and create the honey. Typically the bees will use the two bottom supers for rearing the young and for storage, and the top three layers for the honey crop.
Typically, it is best to purchase a hive that has already contained bees for a year or more, as a new hive can stress the bees and reduce honey production for a period of time. But a beehive can also be built properly from new components. The hive should be checked for tightness and for enough room for worker bees to roam around.