Basic Equipment

What you need to get started: There are only a few items that are essential to starting beekeeping, most of what is in the beekeeping catalogues is not necessary for the beginner.


National Hive

There are various types of hive and each beekeeper will say that the type they use is best. There are various things to think about when choosing which type you would like to use, these include size and weight the bigger hives can become very heavy when full of brood and honey. If you wish to look at different types in use your local association should be able to help. The most commonly used hive in England is the National Hive. Do beware of buying second-hand as some can go for more than new and can transfer diseases. If you do still want to buy a second hand hive, do take an experienced beekeeper with you. Make sure it is cleaned and disinfected.

Bee Suit


There are different types of suit. You can purchase a Jacket or an All-in-One suit. It is preferable to have one with a removable veil (attached by zips) because if the veil is permanently attached to jacket or suit the frequent washing needed can damage the veil. Veils are vulnerable to damage and if attached they can be difficult to replace. There are also different types of hood. The one you purchase is all down to personal preference.

Hive Tool


There are two main types and again this is down to personal preference, ask at a meeting if you can try using both types before you decide.



This is definitley an essential, a small one is adequate when you start. Bigger ones are better when you have several hives. Most beekeepers upgrade their smoker after the first season or so to a bigger model.



You can purchase leather gauntlets which can give the new beekeeper some degree of confidence, however they do get dirty and are hard to clean. Marigold or latex gloves are useful and can be discarded when dirty.



East Grinstead Beekeepers have extracting equipment available to hire for a nominal fee to members.

Next steps

Pollen chart

Why we need bees

General enquiry

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