Welcome to the forum. Sounds like you are off to a good start.
Thanks! I certainly hope so... i have weakness (strength depending on your views) of going full speed in to a new interest and this is no different. So far I have a starter kit (it's essentially the hive box with frames, entrance reducer, bottom and top lid). I plan on getting essentials-- like the bee suit... but that's it for now.
What would you say is a MUST have as a beginner?
I enjoy these types of things a lot. Although there is that uncertain and usually steep learning curve we must all endure in the beginning. When I first began keeping a flock of chicken, I monitored them like a hawk (and I even had hawks watching like hawks.... hungry ones that wanted a free chicken dinner!). It's actually quite exhausting but no one can accuse me of not learning new things... I'm addicting to learning.
Well you are in serious trouble. :-D
This hobby is very addicting. The reason is that there is so much to learn. the more you learn, the more you find out how much you do not know.
For starting out, you will need:
a good hive tool, bee sure it is for beekeeping, regular ones will break/bend unless they are stainless or properly tempered.
a large smoker, 10" tall. Short ones are harder to keep lit for beginners. Once you get it lit, then pack it real tight, I use pine straw. Lasts for 4-5 hours when packed tightly.
Your bee suit. If you can afford it get a vented suit. Get blue rubber gloves. Heavy leather gloves kill a lot of bees and makes for a mean hive. They get coated with defensive pheromone that you keep putting into the hive. If you can, do not wear gloves. Smoke up your hands real good.
A one handed queen catcher/marker and a hair clip queen catcher.
Lemon grass oil, one once bottle if you want to catch your own swarms.