Equipment my be purchased through some feed stores or through stores such as Dadant, Mann Lake & Brushy Mountain Bee Farm. Another option is to make your own, plans may be found at www.beesource.com.
You will need...................
Bottom board: As the name implies it has an open end to form the entrance $10.
Brood box: $10 Same as Honey super but is the bottom most boxes where queen lays.
Frames & Foundation: Wooden frame and plastic sheet with honey comb impression where bees pull wax comb on. You will need set of 10 for each box $20.
Honey Super: $10 Same as Brood box but is upper most box where honey is stored.
Inner and Outer Cover: As name implies $20.
Hive Tool: A flat metal bar for separating bee glued boxes $6.
Vale: You seen them before a mesh vale to protect face $20 - $40.
Hat: Safari looking hat that vale goes over.
Bee suit: $57 to $300 or use jogging sweat shirt (thick shirt) and jeans (I do), duct tape ankles or tuck in shoes.
Gloves: $3.00 to $25.00 Depends on weather you buy cheap $3 pair or $25 pair that have elastic sleeve cover.
Entrance feeder: Sets in entrance for feeding sugar syrup during spring/summer $5.
After you get the equipment you will be ready to set up.
1. Locate where you want your hive/s and set up your stand. Your stand can be simple 4 cinder blocks or something more elaborate. The stand should be located where the hive will be sheltered from the wind and if possible the rain. I put mine in the corner of my yard since the fence will shelter against wind and the trees there against the rain. The stand should be level with a slight lean forward to enable condensation to drain out.
2. Put the Bottom Board, Brood Box, Super, Inner Cover, Outer Cover on the stand. Assuming you put all the frames with foundation in brood box.
3. When Package bees arrive (APRIL), on a warm day, remove inner and outer covers. Take out the queen box (the small rectangular box in package bee box) and set between two frames in brood box (remove a frame if necessary).
Now gently shake bees out and into brood box from the top. When you are satisfied you can no longer shake them out easily, put inner and outer covers back on brood box. Prop the package bee box with remaining bees in front of the hive entrance. In a few days com back and unplug the queen box and set back between the frames. In a couple hours come back and remove queen box if she has come out of it.
4. Fill feeder with sugar syrup and feed bees. Entrance feeder is the easiest to use as it sets in the entrance and all you do is plug and unplug the mayonnaise jar to refill. Bees will also need a source of water for cooling down the hive. This source should be bracken water (water like that in a pond or lake ect).
Check feed every day and fill when empty or close to it. You will be feeding hive until about November then put entrance reducer on. Insulate the hive if you want (I do, with regular house insulation and duct tape) as this will help if you are in a cold climate during winter. Come April of next year, when its a warm day check on hive to see if they made it through. Feed sugar syrup to give boost to the hive for the coming May when nectar flow should be starting. Don't expect to collect any honey the 1st year a hive is setup, also never collect honey from the bottom 3 or 4 boxes. These are the brood boxes (where queen lays eggs) and honey supers, the colony will need this honey (30lb) to make it through winter.
This is just for starting a hive and not hive maintenance which includes beginning of the year (April) checks on hive health and end of the year (Nov) Preventive disease treatment and Proactive disease and pest treatment. Some pests include Wax moth and Varroa mite (VAMPIRE of Bees). You may never see some of these or you may see them allot.
Here is a monthly guide to follow for the 2nd year.
If you do not see a book for your area get one for an area that is close to you. As I find beekeepers in other areas I will get them to modify a version for that area.
Also A very good book for beginners is "Beekeeping FOR DUMMIES" by Howland Blackiston. Do not be insulted by the title as it's a very good book.
I recommend reading up on pests, diseases, biology and social structure.
© James Brown.