I think I would like to start with a Top bar hive, just because it's something we could build ourselves and otherwise the cost of getting started is going to be too expensive to even consider. BUT all the references I've found are geared more towards Langstrom hives. Does anyone know of a good book or website that is geared towards starting with a top bar hive? It seems that with the other critters I've been able to get a good understanding of things just by reading the forum and websites, etc, but it looks like beekeeping is much more complicated and I'm just having a hard time wrapping my head around it all. Also, what equipment is ABSOLUTELY necessary? I've heard of people who don't use this or that. IE long sleeves, pants, just regular leather gloves. Any ideas on cheap or alternative uses for equipment. I'm not looking to make a profit selling honey. Just an educational, fun experience with the added benifit of pollination for my garden and flowers, and occaisional honey and beeswax. Bees seem like a good addition to our homestead, but not with a $300 starter kit like I've seen in catalogs, websites, etc. Is it possible to start out under $100 including bees?