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Personally I would not go “cheap” on hive boxes; find a store or online catalogue and buy from them and stay with the brand you buy, so boxes/supers all fit, are the same size.
 
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HelloCatskill,
It's just my opinion, but I purchase all my equipment from the major dealers like Mann Lake, Dadant, etc. They offer quality products and free shipping on orders over $100. That's a plus when buying hives especially since they are heavy. As far as starting a hive, I suggest you start with one deep brood box and as that fills, add a second. Hives always need 2 deep brood boxes to sustain the hive. I also suggest purchasing an in hive feeder. It takes up two frames. You can easily fill it with sugar syrup and when the first brood box is full, move it up to the 2nd box. Add two new frames to the first brood box. Do not even consider adding a super the first year. Let the bees fill the frames with cells and brood. Keep feeding them and they will thrive. I like to have my hives off the ground on cinder blocks or some such platform facing east. This allows them to warm up early with the rising sun. I have my hives shaded in the west and south with trees which gives them protection from too much sun/heat. It also serves as a wind break in the winter. Read up on bee diseases, especially varroa and tracheal mites. You'll need to treat the hive to kill the mites otherwise your chances of losing the bees is quite great. Get involved with a local bee club. I have 2 her in Connecticut that I am affiliated with. They offer classes and demonstrations very often. The winter time is a great time to get your hive ready- built, painted, etc. Be sure to glue all joints and make sure that they are square and true. Plan your site and go to some classes. Do a lot of reading. That's important so that you learn as much as possible. You might even get to meet an 'old timer' who will take you under his/her wing and teach you the ropes. I was lucky...I had two who taught me a great deal. You'll love the hobby. Good luck and have fun. Raising bees is a very rewarding and interesting pastime.
Hi Gypsi, the OP is Horselover, not me. Deb
 
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