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A quick background of me... i'm 19 living in NJ, and want to have a honeybee hive more for the bees than for me. I think it would be good to have more bees around since i am an animal lover and know of the declining of these bees.
OK, i'm looking to have a small hive, but would prefer to make it rather than buy it. I don't have much money to start, so if anyone had ideas on making your own tools please let me know. I have 2 apple trees, a pear tree, and a peach tree around my house as well as countless flowers. If anyone has any plans, help, advice or info you could give me i would really appreciate it. Thanks
 

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1...Welcome to the forum

2...It is recommended that you start with two hives to compare and use one to support the other when needed.

3...A new hive comes unassembled, but cut to fit and nail holes predrilled. I would suggest buying the first one or two and making a drawing of the parts for making the future ones.
 

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Hi Woodsman, welcome! :)

Since you are looking for a 'small hive', I myself would recommend you start with 8-frame size "medium" super boxes. you can stack these as many as you need and let the bees use as much vertical space as they like for their brood nest. Using all mediums is very versatile in terms of switching boxes back and forth of all the same size, and way easier to lift than 'deep' boxes. Like Iddee says, it would be better to have two hives.
Being in NJ, your winters will not be brutally cold. Your bees could get by winter in hives that are 3 or 4 medium boxes tall per hive. I'd say order some unassembled 'medium 8-frame super' boxes and assemble them yourself, along with medium size frames and foundation. There'll be plenty of assembly required when you put the frames and foundation together. ;)
 

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The cheapest hive to put together is a top bar hive. What kinds of scrap wood do you have at your disposal?
 
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