Well assuming assuming that you have decided on a hive type my advice would be stick to a single type it makes life much easier when you may need to manipulate colonies and transfer combs between colonies. Notice how I assumed that you would have more than 1 colony. Well you can run with just one colony but I would plan on having at least 2. The bees will eventually want to swarm and the new colony will need to be housed and managed. Also having more than one colony does give you some form of back-up if something goes wrong with one colony.

So what equipment do you need:

  1. Hive – for more detail see: hive types
  2. Jacket – I would go for a combined jacket and veil.
  3. Gloves – avoid leather gauntlets and go for either washing up gloves or ideally disposable rubber gloves.
  4. Hive tool – the J tool design with a hook for levering frame ends is the best.
  5. Smoker – go for a large size. I found it hard to keep the small smoker I started out with alight even when inspecting just 2 colonies.
  6. Hive stand – can be an old crate or a purpose made one. It’s much easier to inspect a colony at the right height than to continually have to bend down to take the frames out. For a stand that I use see Techniques and Plans – Single Hive Stand
  7. Nucleus box – you will need one at some stage and if your bees came in a travelling box then this will do for a season or two. If you have to buy one and cost is an issue then the poly versions that are now available are very good.