If you’re looking for a new hobby to dive into, backyard beekeeping is one of the most rewarding and fulfilling hobbies you will find. However, it is also one of most challenging hobbies to get into, and can seem extremely intimidating when doing your initial research. 

All of the information and knowledge you need to gather, along with supplies and gear can seem overwhelming. That’s why we’re here to help you take it one step at a time to get you on the road to becoming a seasoned beekeeper. 

Initial Research & Growing your Knowledge

Education is the single most important aspect of backyard beekeeping. As mentioned, there is quite a lot to learn and take in as you get started. The easy first step you can take is picking up a book on beekeeping, like The Backyard Beekeeper by Kim Flottum. This book walks you through the entire process from startup building, to how to maintain your beehive and everything else in between. 

Another great resource you should take advantage of is the beekeeping community. There are many local and online groups and communities that are happy to share tips, tricks, and answer any questions you might have as a beginner. Find groups within your local area and go pick the brains of the experts who have learned through the years! 

Beekeeping Gear

While bees aren’t typically aggressive, they can get agitated and sting when they feel threatened. That is why having quality beekeeping gear is essential, so you can ensure that you’re staying safe and protected when handling your hive. Let’s walk through three important pieces of clothing that you’ll want before you begin beekeeping. 

A beekeeper using a smoker while wearing proper beekeeping gear, like a hood, coveralls, and gloves
Quality beekeeping gear is essential for safe beekeeping. | Via Little Giant® Beekeeping Supplies


Your hands are the main tools you’ll be using to handle your bees and all other duties, so they’re important to protect. The gloves you get should be thick and protective, while still being flexible so you can have full movement within your fingers. Most gloves will cover from your hand to your elbow. 


A proper jacket will keep your arms and body covered to protect you from being stung. Look for a jacket that is built with heavy fabric, which will stand up over time and keep you protected while you’re working.


A veil/hat combo is essential to keep your face and neck protected while handling your bees. This last piece will keep your vision clear while also providing you with a peace of mind that you aren’t in danger of having any open skin stung if the bees become agitated. 

Beekeeping Supplies

After picking up your gear, you’ll next need the five essential supplies and tools required for beekeeping and maintenance. 


This is the obvious and biggest one, as you’ll need something for your bees to live in. For beginners, it’s recommended to start with a Longstroth hive. These are the most common hives, so most tools and supplies will be compatible to use when working. A good hive for starters would be a 10-Frame hive. Each section of this hive can be lifted to check on a specific colony without disturbing the others. 

You can also pick up a starter kit, which comes with a 10-frame hive and other essentials like a hive tool, veil, smoker, gloves and more. 

A beekeeping starter kit is the easiest way to start your backyard bee colony. | Via Little Giant® Beekeeping Supplies


Smokers are a must-have for any backyard beekeeper. Smoke masks pheromones and helps keep your bees calm and docile. A smoker tool makes it easy to gently puff smoke across the bees, calming them down and making it easier for you to handle them and get work done. An essential for you to have so you can avoid unwanted bee stings. You will use this a lot while working, so you’ll need to make sure you have a high-quality smoker. 


Brushing your bees may sound a bit silly, but it is proven to be an effective way to move them around the hive. A brush can be used to move bees off of frames while doing an inspection, herd them while they’re swarming or to brush them off yourself after handling. The soft bristles gently nudge the bees, so you don’t need to worry about hurting them or damaging their wings. 


While bees can feed themselves efficiently during the Spring and Summer months, many keepers here in the Midwest supplement their colonies with sugar syrup or honey during the Fall and Winter months. Feeders slot directly into hives and hold the syrup or honey, so bees have the ability to free-feed whenever they please. 

Hive Tool

This will be one of your most handy tools to have when it comes to beekeeping. Hive tools can be used to separate frames and lift them out of the hive boxes without damaging anything. They can also be used to remove any excess wax or syrup/honey from the top of your frames. 

Hive tools help to remove excess wax and honey. | Via Little Giant® Beekeeping Supplies

Ordering your Bees

Last but certainly not least, you will need your colony of bees! You can order live bees directly from our website, FleetFarm.com/bees anytime before March 24th, 2024 for delivery between April 15th and May 10th, 2024. 

We have Italian or Carniolan live bees available, and each package comes with around 10,000 bees plus one mated queen.

Bee colony in a apiculture
Order Italian or Carniolan live bees from Fleet Farm. Via Getty Images


Backyard beekeeping isn’t one of those hobbies you can take up and master in a few days. It’s going to take time to understand the ins and outs of everything, but by using resources like books, groups and local communities, you’ll get a better understanding of everything as you build your own at-home setup. Everything you need to get started is right here for you, now it’s time to get it all together and start your journey to backyard beekeeping!

Find all of our beekeeping products and more online at FleetFarm.com or visit your local store