Important Beginner Beekeeping Equipment

What is the essential equipment I need as a beginner beekeeper?

Whether you have a single hive or a few, the same range of equipment is recommended. Below are my suggestions to all beginners for what they should consider including in their beginner-beekeeper toolbox.

  1. Protective suit
    This could be a full suit or a jacket, with the jacket needing to be worn with decent pants such as jeans to offer full protection.

  2. Gloves
    This could be a pair of regular beekeeping gloves, garden gloves with elastic bands around the wrists, or an alternative option such as nitrile gloves which some beekeepers choose to give them more feeling and control when handling the frames.

  3. Smoker
    A smoker is essential every time you open up a hive to avoid disrupting the guard bees and igniting a stinging frenzy.

  4. Smoker fuel
    I use a green shopping bag filled with dried organic matter that I pick up along my ways. In particular I have dried leaves, tallowwood bark, pine needles and sugar cane mulch.

  5. Lighter
    To light the smoker.

  6. Hive tool
    This is essential for prying apart boxes and frames as everything is stuck together with wax and propolis, plus scraping off any burr comb needed as I inspect the hive. Learning how to effectively use this tool isn’t hard but essential.

  7. Bee brush
    This is used to brush bees off frames and hive parts as required e.g. moving a frame of brood between hives and you want to avoid taking the bees with it. I find that the brush particularly comes in handy when working with super white, fresh comb, where it’s too fragile to shake the bees off.

Not so essential, but I recommend:

  1. Blow torch
    Just a simple Butane power gas heating torch is all you need. This piece of equipment is super handy for sterilising hive tools between hives or apiaries, plus igniting the smoker, particularly when it’s windy and the fuel is damp. I strongly recommend choosing one with a trigger to light the flame.

  2. Queen cage
    A very handy piece of equipment used for caging the queen when you are doing any particularly heavy work in the hive. If you find the queen and temporarily hold her in the queen cage, you can work confidently knowing that your queen is safe from harm, such as from falling comb or honey during a cross comb fix-up.

I’d love to hear other recommendations for important equipment in a beekeepers toolbox, or alternative suggestions to the above.


You forgot Flow Hive Bianca :wink:


I also like to have:

  1. An extra empty deep box to transfer frames into while inspecting - helps to avoid chilled brood and reduces the chance of rolling or losing the queen.
  2. Some ziplock baggies to collect burr comb. I then freeze it in a bigger batch and render it when there is enough, or smear it onto new Flow frames.
  3. A Bite Away heat pen to treat any stings ASAP
  4. A spare pair of reading glasses to help with seeing eggs
  5. A small high power LED torch/flashlight to help with seeing eggs
  6. A camera or phone for taking photos
  7. Linen tea towels to drape over frames not being inspected. Helps to keep the bees calm, and keep the frames warmer
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