After the beehive and bees, you need just a few more essential items.

  • Hive tool--get the standard design, the one that looks like a mini-crowbar
  • Dr. Wyatt A Mangum's book on top bar hive beekeeping.  If you buy just one book, make it this one.  Really you should plan to buy at least three books about beekeeping. A beekeeper should continually educate him/herself.
  • Beekeeper Smoker--application of smoke to bees is both an art form and essential for keeping the bees calm.  Buy the tall can over the short can--it is easier to keep the smoker going for longer in the tall can.
  • A beekeeper's veil--just something simple to protect your face from stings.  
  • Other Beekeeping books to further your education of the honeybee 
  • Membership to a bee club, find out where your local club meets
  • An experienced beekeeper mentor--meet one or several at a club .  AND NEVER STOP READING ABOUT BEES YOURSELF.

Things that I don't recommend using (usually)

  • Beekeeping gloves: they diminish your sense of touch and will impede the grace of beekeeping in top bar hives.  The bees have much to teach and stings are the lessons.  If they're stinging the heck out of your hands, they probably have a legitimate reason to be angry.  A beesting here or there comes with this work.  I do admit that gloves are handy to have for the messier beekeeping work.  Thinner goatskin gloves function better than thicker cowhide gloves while still providing essential protection.