Beesource forums  — Its the Reddit and Craigslist for beekeepers.  One of the best with great moderators and good advice

The beekeeper’s handbook –This book is solid!!  You want a decent book on beekeeping I pick this.  Great stand-alone book

Michael Bush website — I share a lot in common with Michaels beekeeping philosophy.  He’s posted everything for all to see on his site.  His book is good, and his site contains everything in his book. — If you are going to build and make a horizontal hive this is the place!

Dave’s bees Mason block — Here’s a re-usable mason beehive you can make with a woodblock

Mason bee care —  Here’s a good place to look for mason bee care and set up.  There’s even a buyback program here.

Bumblebee guide — Here’s a pdf for a home setup to raise your own bumblebees in the spring.

Bumblebee tutorial on youtube — I liked this tutorial on bumblebee rearing

Monarch raising — I like this blog on monarchs.  Soon I will make my own.  Raising monarchs is easy and fun.

Best hummingbird feeder — #1 for a birdfeeder is that it’s easy to fill.  #2 is that it’s durable.  This is my recommendation for hummer feeding.

I put up a good set on how to build supers here.  Also, I did a blog spot when that was easier to publish on this page.  Got wax rendering and lip balm making plus more at

Sources of bees

Get your boxes out there for swarms!!!!

On the horizontal hive-site, they sell the swarm lure tubes and lemongrass oil.  Click here

Soon I will post on swarm traps and add that.

Package bees

— Many places would like deposits before the end of February for package bees

— Make sure your town allows you to keep Bees before you order!  

Suggested sources (Illinois)  

Walter T kelly bees — come in the mail to you

Havard Egg and Feed Contact Sue for Bee packages Pickup only Contact Sue at 815-943-4837

For pickup at Dadant and Sons Watertown Wi

Contact is Brian Lox   Form found here

Karl Braun Independent Beekeeper located in Belvidere Il.    815-543-1317  He expects to have bees ready May 1st. 2# $105, 3# packages $125.


  • 5 medium boxes per hive (see making mediums)
  • 1  hat/veil jacket zip suit
  • 1 smoker
  • 2-3 hive tools (you end up losing them)
  • Foundationless frames
  • bottom board
  • escape screen for harvesting
  • 5-gallon bucket with cheesecloth for crushing and staining of honey
  • honey gate for bucket


  • I like 10 frame medium boxes rather than deeps because the parts are all interchangeable. You can take a frame from the bottom and move it anywhere. You also only have one set of parts to carry around.
  • Building your own mediums is easy if you have a table saw. It also keeps your costs a lot less. (see tutorial)
  • The escape screen allows you to harvest without chemicals. Just put the medium you want to harvest in between the screen and the rest of the hive. The next day it’s mostly empty. You can use a paintbrush to move 11 or so bees left.
  • Screened bottom boards are nice for summer ventilation. I suggest building your own with 2×4’s.
  • The jacket with veil suit is easy and un-cumbersome, although I suggest a full suit for later on down the road. It’s just nice to have security especially when a hive falls over.
  • Using foundationless frames makes each box cost $10 less plus when you harvest the wax it is all-natural. 
  • There’s no need for an extractor. Extracting would require you to wire all your frames or buy the foundation to withstand the spinning. It takes more time than it’s worth on a small scale.
  • You can build your own smoker out of cans and just buy the billows however I’d just buy a good one though. It’s so much easier and the smoker isn’t something that you replace all that often.

Here’s a cost comparison for catching wild bees and building your own box

Costs                                  Build your own                  Buy

  1. 5 medium supers            $15                                 $80
  2. 1 pullover suit                  $75                                 $75
  3. Smoker                              $25                                 $25
  4. 2 hive tools                       $10                                  $10
  5. 5 gal bucket                      $5                                    $5
  6. Frames for 5 supers        $50                                $50
  7. foundation                        $3 (popsicle sticks)     $50 (foundation)
  8. Honey gate                       $10                                 $10
  9. Escape screen                  $10                                 $10
  10. Bees                                 $0 (swarm trap)           $155
  11. Total                                 $188                              $470


  • Shipping is expensive!! You should buy your equipment when you pick up your bees or
  • Brushy mountain tends to do free shipping in December.
  • Mann Lake has free shipping (some items are more costly).
  • Building your own equipment takes tools and a reasonable amount of skill, so don’t sweat buying
  • Look for used equipment