You can find a cornucopia of information on the internet regarding the care and culture of beekeeping. Parsing through it to know where to start can be difficult.
To kick things off, you might want to look into our favorite beekeeping book, First Lesson In Beekeeping, to get more of an understanding of what beekeeping entails (most of our kits already come with it as a bonus).
The first step to start a honeybee hive is to get a starter kit. There are several different options out there and the right one for you depends on your needs.
To help you select wisely, let’s learn about some of the possibilities.
Types of Beginner Kits
For the most part, there are three different types of beginning kits for beekeepers:
- Assembled 10-frame Beginner Kits
- Unassembled 8-frame Beginner Kits
- Unassembled 10-frame Beginner Kits
The contents of each vary, but they all come with the basics that you need to start your beekeeping journey.
Let’s dive in and learn a bit more about each unique kit.
Assembled 10-Frame Beginner Kits
Dadant & Sons offers two different assembled 10-frame beginner kits. This style of kit will be best for you if you want to get into the beekeeping game straightaway as soon as you get it — it comes completely assembled and ready to go. It’s perfect for beekeepers who just want to focus on the essential mechanics of beekeeping to begin with.
The first 10-frame kit (which can be found on our website right here) comes with everything the beekeeper needs to get started on their beekeeping adventure.
Among others, here are the most notable features of the kit:
- Assembled and painted bottom board
- Two brood boxes along with foundation and frames
- A medium depth super with foundation and frames
- An inner cover, a top cover, a hive tool, and a bee brush
- Four by seven smoker and fuel
- Ventilated leather gloves and a hat veil pullover
If you choose this kit, you’ll want to pay close attention to the glove size; make sure you choose the correct size, because you’ll need to return and replace them yourself if not!
The next kit featured here (which also comes assembled and painted) is a 10-frame medium kit. It comes with most of the things the first kit has, but it also includes grooved top bar frames, a metal cover, a plastic queen excluder, and a different type of Alexander Veil.
Some beginning beekeepers prefer this style of kit because it also comes with sting-resistant gloves and a bee smoker to calm aggressive bees. If you’re the type of person who wants to jump right into your hobby, then you can’t go wrong with either of these frames.
Unassembled 8-Frame Beginner Kits
Next up is the unassembled 8-frame beginner kit. This style comes unassembled and unpainted, so it’s best for someone who wants to use a little elbow grease before getting started – to really make it your own.
It comes with everything the beginning beekeeper needs to start their first colony except for the actual bees. Since it’s smaller than the others, you’ll need to add an extra brood box and honey supers as your colony grow. Other than that, you have everything you need on hand, including:
- Nearly-10-inch beehive
- Eight groove top bar frames and plastic base foundations
- A bottom board, telescoping metal cover, inner cover, and entrance feeder
- An all-purpose hive tool and bee smoker to calm your bees (along with smoker fuel)
- Protective bee veil and sting resistant gloves
It also comes with our favorite beginner book, First Lessons in Beekeeping, and assembly instructions. This is our top choice for beginning beekeepers who aren’t sure how big they want their bee project to be (you can always expand the operation later).
Unassembled 10-Frame Beginner Kits
Another one of our preferred options is the unassembled 10-frame beginner kit. Just like the 8-frame beginner kit, it comes with everything you need to start your first bee colony except the bees. It’s a little bigger, so this is better for beginning beekeepers who already know they want a large operation.
You’ll need to paint and assemble it yourself, which means more leg work (but it can be an exciting journey to see it all come together). The kit comes with a plethora of equipment to make beekeeping easier, including:
- Unassembled beehive (standard)
- A hive tool, entrance reducer, entrance feeder, inner cover, and bottom board
- A bee smoker to calm aggressive bees and smoker fuel
- Sting resistant gloves and a protective bee veil
- Assembly instructions and First Lessons in Beekeeping
Once your colony begins to grow, we recommend purchasing our Hobby Kit #3. It will provide you with the extra tools you need to produce a honey crop.
Where are the Bees?
You might have noticed the one product our beekeeping kit doesn’t come: the bees. This is because bees have to be shipped differently and handled with more care than our kits. They often come from the Southern states and they usually can’t be shipped in the hotter months of May through August.
Regardless, if you’re looking for bees, we offer some of the premier Italian bees on the market. A naturally mated queen is included in the three-pound package. They’re shipped straight to your local Post Office and when they’re ready you can pick them up.
Although we don’t ship to all fifty states, we can ship to:
• District of Columbia
• New Hampshire
• New Jersey
• New York
• North Carolina
• South Carolina
• South Dakota
• West Virginia
Additional Starter Kits
The soap-making kit includes all the ingredients you need to make your own honey glycerine soap. It also includes a mold to shape it into a bee and flower shape.
The candlemaking kit also includes everything you need to make your own candles, along with the pre-assembled light wicks and tea-light cups.
Reach out to Dadant & Sons, your local beekeeping experts, with questions about your honey bee starter kit
Our kits are excellent for all types of beekeepers, whether professional or novice. We have a variety of options to help you get started regardless of your budgeting needs and beekeeping style.
As always, don’t be afraid to contact Dadant & Sons with any concerns, comments, or questions regarding the care of your bees and the business of beekeeping.