Basic equipment for commercial beekeeping consists of wooden boxes to house the bee colony, with a special base giving bees an area for entry and exit. Inside these boxes, wooden frames outline and contain beeswax combs in which bees raise their young and store honey.

Personal protective equipment is also important, to allow beekeepers to enter, inspect and assist manipulation of the boxes and frames. Beekeepers generally use coveralls, a bee veil to cover the face and gloves to cover hands. Tools for opening and inspection of the colony include a smoker to produce a good volume of cool smoke, and a hive tool to pry the frames apart.

Using appropriate clothing and smoker — along with calm, easy movements around opened colonies — reduces the possibility of bee stings and eases colony manipulations.