When starting out you'll need to spend at least some cash, but some beekeeping items are easy to make for yourself, or you can improvise to save money.
It’s tempting to spend a lot of money on shiny new tools and so on, but perhaps it’s better to give beekeeping a try first before you pay out too much on specialist gear, such as a beekeeping suit and tools.
You do need to ensure you are properly protected as a new beekeeper, but here, an experienced beekeeper shares her tips for kitting yourself with a few basics to set you on your way.
See the link below to find advice about purchasing second-hand, as well as the other tips and free information on this site.
By Sharon, Columbus, Ohio
Beekeeping catalogues are full of shiny equipment and protective beekeeping clothing that cost a LOT of money. Before you buy, don't just think about whether you need it or not. Think about what it does, and if there might be a different way to get there less expensively. If you are handy with needle & thread, or tools and wood, you have a big leg up.
A couple of examples:
Protective clothing can get very expensive. Thrift stores are wonderful sources for big white shirts or jackets,, and white pants. A lot of female and smaller male beeks buy second hand men's dress shirts, and use rubber bands around the wrists. My "beekeeping jacket" (which I wear occasionally) cost me $4 at a thrift store, plus the cost and time to put in a zipper. If you sew, you can even make your own veil.
There are patterns for just about everything on the web.
Beekeeping gloves? Try dishwashing gloves from the supermarket.
Hive tools are great. If you have to pay shipping though, head for your local hardware store and pick out a paint scraper of about the same dimensions.
Are you handy with tools? If you really must buy something, buy one - and then use it as a pattern to make your own.
Scrap wood is often free.
Slashed Ziploc baggies laid on top of the bars, or slashed stapled file folders hung between frames make dandy feeders that cost practically nothing.
You do need to buy SOME things. A good smoker, if you don't already have one.
You'll figure out what you need over time. Make/borrow buy the minimum to get started. You'll soon find out what you really need, really like or don't.
Sharon in Ohio - with 2 Warre hives in my back yard
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