Beekeeping basics: Starting a colony

Setting up a Langstroth Hive

If you have visited a beekeeping store recently, chances are you have already been exposed to the Langstroth hive. It is a favorite with beekeepers in North America. Stackable supers and removable frames allow for easier hive inspections.

If you have decided to set-up a Langstroth hive, you will need to buy/steal/barter/borrow indefinitely the following items:


Langstroth hive essentials

  1. Bottom board – Screened or solid
  2. Entrance reducer
  3. 2 deep supers for brood and honey
  4. 20 deep frames with plastic or wax foundation
  5. 1-2 medium super(s) for honey
  6. 10-20 medium frames with plastic or wax foundation
  7. Outer cover with metal top
  8. Inner cover with a notch
  9. Queen excluder
  10. Something to put your hive on (stand, blocks, pallets, etc)

Optional extras for your Langstroth hive

  1. Slatted rack for added ventilation
  2. Bee escape
  3. Mouse guard


In addition to hive parts, you will need to invest in some tools to help you tend your hive. Here are some items you will need:


Beekeeping tool essentials

  1. Full or partial protective suit or a head veil
  2. Gloves
  3. Hive tool
  4. Smoker
  5. Bee brush
  6. Queen cages
  7. Sticky board or a counter jar for varroa mite counts
  8. Varroa mite treatment

Optional beekeeping tools

  1. Queen marking pens
  2. Frame holder/hanger


Autumn equipment

In the fall, you will need the following items to extract honey and to winterize your hives

  1. Honey extractor
  2. Bucket with a honey gate
  3. Strainers and cheese cloth
  4. Uncapping fork
  5. Jars for honey
  6. Bee cozy winter wrap
  7. Styrofoam board for the inner cover

If you are handy, you can even build your own Langstroth hive. There are many free resources on the web with tips and tricks to get you started.