Kelly's Top 10 Beekeeping Essentials for Beginners

Kelly's Top 10 Beekeeping Essentials for Beginners

There's nothing that beats growing your own ingredients. You'll know exactly what is going into your crops and feel a sense of accomplishment from putting in the hard work. Beekeeping is a great way to get your own honey and even care for the environment! If you're interested in trying beekeeping, take a look through this list prepared by recipe developer and beekeeper Kelly (@theherbeevore).

She says, "Get the buzz on my favorite beekeeping tools for beginners! I've been a beekeeper for four years, and these are all tools I use on a daily and weekly basis. Beekeeping is a sweet hobby, and I absolutely love the feeling of caring for my hives and knowing the bees are in turn caring for the environment. 

My list below covers a wide range of equipment for the beginner beekeeper like protective gear, hive inspection essentials, and bee feeders. These must-haves are great for those starting a new hobby with backyard beehives!"

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Kelly Jensen
Beekeeper & Food Blogger
  • Humble Bee
    Ventilated Beekeeping Suit

    Kelly Jensen

    I've had a few different types of beekeeping suits throughout my years beekeeping, but this is the suit I currently wear every day. Having a well-ventilated suit makes such a difference in the hot summer afternoons. I tend to overheat wearing other bee suits and jackets, but I haven't had a single problem with my Humble Bee suit. 

    And don't let the vents fool you - this is one protective suit! I caught a swarm of bees while wearing it, and didn't get a single sting. While many experienced beekeepers may choose to wear just a veil or no suit at all, I always feel confident opening up my hives in my ventilated suit.

  • Honey Keeper
    Beehive 20 Frame Complete Box Kit

    Kelly Jensen

    This complete hive kit has everything you need to get started beekeeping! It has all the pieces of a hive you need: a bottom board, deep hive box (where the queen lays brood), honey super to gather excess honey, inner cover, heavy outer cover, frames, foundation, and an entrance reducer. 

    I like buying kits like this as it's more economical to buy the pieces together than buying them individually. This type of hive is called a Langstroth hive and is a very common hive design for beekeeping. I personally use 10-frame Langstroth hives, so I'd recommend this design to anyone. 

    This kit has everything you need to start and expand your apiary, it's a great first-time hive kit for any new beekeeper!

  • Flexzion
    Bee Hive Smoker

    Kelly Jensen

    If you've ever seen a beekeeper use a smoker, you've probably wondered why! Smoke can calm bees and distract them while you work in the hive. I use my smoker tool for larger tasks like catching swarms or combining hives as it calms agitated bees down

    I like this smoker in particular because it has a heat shield around the base, making it easy to pick up without burning yourself. I use my smoker at least once a month, especially when I am installing a new hive or extracting honey - it's a great tool to keep your bees docile.

  • Foxhound Bee Company
    Stainless Steel Beekeepers Hive Tool Set

    Kelly Jensen

    These hive tools may look basic, but they are the number one piece of equipment I always bring with me when I am opening up my hives. These hive tools are perfect for prying apart sticky frames of honey, hooking a frame with a curved edge, or loosening up brood boxes that are stuck together. 

    They have a great design - and I always keep two in my rotation: it's great to have a clean one on hand if you get caught in a sticky situation. This set is great for someone just starting out and is a fantastic multi-purpose tool.

  • Weewooday
    Entrance Feeder

    Kelly Jensen

    I use these entrance feeders in the spring when I install new hives. The feeders fit a small-mouth mason jar, which you can fill with sugar water to feed the bees or just regular water to keep them hydrated in a dry climate. I've tried all kinds of feeders in my hives, and keep going back to these entrance feeders. 

    There are a lot of different feeders on the market, each of which has pros and cons. The cons are that entrance feeders can also attract wasps or hornets, so make sure to monitor your hives for any wasp activity. However, the pros for this style of feeder are that I've had great personal experience with them, and my hives always seem to drink the most from them. 

  • Foxhound Bee Company
    Heavy Duty Beekeeping Gloves

    Kelly Jensen

    Like my beekeeping suit, I always get the best and most protective clothing I can while I am beekeeping. In my first few years, I wore basic gloves and got stung a few times through the flimsy leather - when I upgraded to these Foxhound Bee Company Gloves it changed the game! 

    I haven't been stung through them once, and I wear these gloves every time I check my hives. I feel confident knowing there is extra protection for my hands with the double layer of leather. These gloves are also very long and will cover your forearms up to your elbows.

  • Jashem
    Beehive Frame Holder

    Kelly Jensen

    This is the most recent piece of beekeeping equipment I've bought, but I absolutely love it! This frame holder clips into the side of your hives and can hold three to four frames as you inspect your hive. It saves a lot of trouble and acts as a perch for the frames you've already inspected. 

    Before I bought the frame holder, I would try to balance the frames against the side of the hive and hope they didn't fall over while I did my inspections. Now I can rest the frames right on the perch as I make my rounds!

  • Little Giant
    Beekeeping Brush

    Kelly Jensen

    Along with my hive tool, my bee brush is an essential piece of equipment for beehive inspections. When I open my hive, often there are hundreds of bees on a single frame, and if I need to take a closer look I use my bee brush to gently move them away. 

    The bristles are long and soft, and carefully sweep the bees off any surface: frames, hives, or even a stray bee that lands on my bee suit! This bee brush is great for moving bees without hurting them. I even used my bee brush for capturing a wild swarm of bees - it comes in handy for big and small tasks.

  • VIVO
    Stainless Steel Honey Strainer Double Sieve

    Kelly Jensen

    Now it's time to take about the fun part: honey collection! You can capture all the sweet rewards of a honey harvest with this double-filtered basket. The two filters are great for straining raw honey right out of the hive. 

    The mesh captures anything you don't want in your honey (bits of wax, stray bugs, sticks, or leaves), and filters only the sweet golden honey after it's strained. I use this double filter, which is great because it fits over a five-gallon bucket that can collect your honey in. Whether you harvest one hive or one hundred, this double filter will keep your honey pure.

  • Little Giant
    Plastic Honey Bucket

    Kelly Jensen

    This is not your average five-gallon bucket: it has a special honey valve at the bottom which is perfect for pouring your filtered honey into glass jars and bottles to keep or to sell. The honey gate at the bottom has an easy control valve which is great if you are dividing the honey into smaller containers. 

    I have a few of these buckets which I absolutely love! I used to use pitchers and ladels to pour honey which made for one sticky kitchen. The honey gate is a game changer which keeps your kitchen and hands clean, and allows you to get every last drop of honey that you gathered.