What would I buy instead of the beginners kit. First I'd price some of this in various places including shipping and see what is the cheapest for you where you live.
Usually the kit has a veil. I prefer a jacket with a zip on veil for a beginner. It will give you more confidence. If you want something cooler, I'd buy a bug baffler (www.bugbaffler.com
) but it's not sting proof, but you can get the jacket with veil and get a bit more protection and still stay very cool. If you have the money to spend, I'd get a Golden Bee Products suit. Expensive, but pretty much stingproof (more than most suits) and very breezy on a hot day.http://www.beeworks.com/Beekeepersuits.htm
Usually the kit has a small smoker. The big ones are easier to keep lit and that will be your biggest problem. I'd buy the big ones:http://www.beeequipment.com/products.asp?pcode=750
With the jacket, I prefer an ordinary pair of deerskin gloves tucked under the elastic of the jacket sleeves. But you could get a pair of beekeepers gloves. They are just harder to get on and off when you need to. I don't care for the plastic ones much. I prefer the goatskin or other light leather. Occasionally they work a stinger through them, but not often.http://www.beeequipment.com/products.asp?pcode=720M
A bee brush is a nice to have, but a nice turkey or goose feather works better. If you can't find a feather then here's the bee brush:http://www.beeequipment.com/products.asp?pcode=775
The only hive tool I use is this one:http://www.beeequipment.com/products.asp?pcode=591
Most come with 10 frame deeps for the brood. I'd buy eight frame mediums. Three is a fair start, but you'll probably need a few more. Five would be a nice start for one hive. But I'd start two hives.http://www.beeequipment.com/products.asp?pcode=254MS
Then you need a bottom board. Most kits come with a solid one (for a ten frame hive) I'd buy the SBB (for the eight frame hive).http://www.beeequipment.com/products.asp?pcode=254IPM
One for each hive and a spare. You never know when you'll have a swarm.
You'll need some kind of lid. You could just cut some plywood to fit. I do that plus put some shims on to make an upper entrance and close off the bottom one. But you could buy a lid if you like:http://www.beeequipment.com/products.asp?pcode=575
You'll need frames. I like to take the standard ones and plane 1 1/16" off each side of the end bars and put 9 in an eight frame box to get smaller cells, but you can use them as is without doing this. I would put something in them for a comb guide but I wouldn't use standard foudnation. If you really WANT to use foundation, I'd use the small cell (4.9mm) foundation. My favorite frames are to buy them from Walter T. Kelly with a solid top and bottom bar (no grooves) and cut the top bar on a bevel first, but you can buy any old grooved top bar frames and put popscicle sticks in the groove if you don't have a table saw to cut them.http://go.netgrab.com/secure/kelleystore/asp/product.asp?product=163
I'd call Walter T. Kelly and order them with solid bottom bars at least. :) But any grooved top and grooved bottom medium frame (6 1/4") will work. You'll need eight per box (unless you want to cut them down 1 1/16").
If you REALLY want to use foundation here's what I would use:http://www.beeequipment.com/products.asp?pcode=278
My favorite feeder is here:http://www.beeworks.com/usacatalog/items/item130.htm
But you can get by with an old jar with very small holes poked in the lid and put this over an inner cover. Either of these feeding methods will take a different cover and an extra super or two to make room for the feeder:http://www.beeequipment.com/products.asp?pcode=254IChttp://www.beeequipment.com/products.asp?pcode=254TT
or use a GOOD frame feeder like this one (I hate most of them):http://www.beeequipment.com/products.asp?pcode=711
or a hive top feeder:http://www.beeequipment.com/products.asp?pcode=729
But make sure IF you use the hivetop feeder you make sure the bees can't get into it from the lid and drawn.
Buy several good books on beekeeping. All are rather "standardized" in the sense that they have one simplified view of beekeeping with deeps for brood etc. But they all have the life cycle info (also found online if you search) and the basics of manipulating a hive. Unfortunately they also are fond of chemicals and foundation. :)
There are some good videos available:http://www.beeworks.com/usacatalog/cat28.htmhttp://www.beeequipment.com/products.asp?cat=23