Saturday, April 11, 2009

Beekeeping supplies in Denver

A friend told me she saw a sign downtown for beekeeping supplies. Hrmmm ... better check it out! Google was not very helpful, but eventually I was able to sleuth out this brand-new business, To Bee Or Not To Bee.

Vicki converted a quonset in her family's equipment rental yard into a charming shop and opened on St. Patrick's Day.
For years the quonset was used for painting construction gear. Now it's an airy and attractively laid-out space. I love the robin's egg blue throughout.
Vicki sells some assembled hives, both the traditional Langstroth and the top-bar (which she gets from
But most of the operation is geared toward the traditional. Lots of woodenware for assembling what you need.
Along the back wall, there are some handy things.
Such as comb cutters, smokers and a nucleus box that doubles as a toolbox.
There's even a beevac! (I've only seen homemade ones; they're used for extracting bees from inside walls and such. Supposedly doesn't hurt them, but I wouldn't use it if I didn't absolutely have to.)

Up at the front of the shop, there's a rack of bee-friendly seeds (click on the photo if you want to see the varieties) and a few bee-related gifty things.
Of course, I had to try on a bee jacket and model it with the mannequin.
Unfortunately, Vicki was out of stand-alone veils (more coming next week), and she doesn't carry swarm traps, so I left empty-handed. But I'm sure I will be back for something else I can't make for myself.

To Bee Or Not To Bee
725 W. 39th Ave. (click for a map)

P.S. Vicki was delighted to get some visits based on this post and asked me to put together a simple website for her that Google can point to. Here it is.


  1. kitt, check out this great bee- (and fish, and mushroom) related post on Dr FreeRide's blog -- it's a conversation w/her brother, Uncle Fishy:

  2. The bee jacket is so you. Bee keeping must be a big deal there for a dedicated store. I wouldn't know where to go for supplies around here.

  3. I'm really fascinated by this. I doubt I'd ever get around to *doing* it, but I find it really intriguing.

  4. I've been thinking alot about bees, lately. Just watched "Ulee's Gold" on HBO. Loved "The Secret Life of Bees" by Sue Monk Kidd and I'm waiting to catch the movie on TV. Ever since I first saw your post on backyard bee hives, I've been toying with the idea. Do you need any local permits? Do I need to check into that?

  5. Wow, what a great conversation! And I love the link to the observation hive. Thanks!

    Betts, I am still trying to decide about the jacket. It's very thick and heavy. I'm going to do just a veil to start with, anyway. Most people order bee supplies online or from catalogs.

    Miss T, it's fascinating stuff, even if you never do it yourself.

    MBP, you should do it! I don't know about permits; it really depends on where you are. And lots of people keep them without permits. They're all over New York on rooftops, I know. Here, we don't need one, but there are some rules for hive placement that should be followed.

    I saw "Ulee's Gold" a long time ago. I should watch it again with my more practiced eye now.

  6. Kitt, I know you read Mark Bittman's blog and I just saw this posted today.

    Had to share with you.


  7. Thanks, Marina! I would not have seen that so soon (I'm waaaaay behind on blog-reading). I left a comment on swarms. Can't miss out on free bees!

  8. Thanks for the post on the bee store. Much appreciated!

  9. You're welcome, Adam! I told Vicki she should get a website up ASAP so people can find her, but she's not computer-savvy. I hope this post will help those who want to find beekeeping supplies locally.

    Are you keeping bees in Denver?