Newbie on a budget with questions

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by red5033, Mar 13, 2012.

  1. red5033

    red5033 New Member

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    Just getting involved in what I hope to be a great hobby and I am anxious to get underway. Joined a local beekeeping club in my area but I still am still not sure where to start and what is the most affordable way to get up and running, which brings me to my 1[SUP]st[/SUP] question. I am not sure what the difference is between buying a complete hive ready to go, versus buying a Nucleus hive from one of our local beekeeping outfits? They are advertised as follows: “Nucleus Hive includes 5-frames, bees, laying queen, solid pine nuc box.†These sell for $125 versus buying a used up and running hive from a club member for $150. What is the difference between these and what other equipment / accessories will I need (if anything) with either of these to set-ups? Want to get the most bang for my buck and choose the option best suited for a rookie and I also want to get all the equipment / supplies / accessories I’ll need before I bring home my hive / Nuc….

    Thanks in advanced,
    Red
     
  2. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    a nucleus or nuc is essentially a starter hive in a 5 frame box... you still would need a box, top and bottom and 5 frames to get the hive started. with a hive you have the one box, top and bottom... odds are there will be some age on the queen.

    beyond the essential of veil, gloves, hive tool and smoker you should plan on 3 to 5 full boxes + frames for each hive.
     

  3. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    The nuc will outgrow it's little 5 frame box within a month or less, and you'll need to get a full size hive ready to transfer it into. The little nuc box will be handy to have around later when you make splits or catch a small swarm.
     
  4. Zulu

    Zulu Member

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    If a full hive is only $150, go for it. Most around here are $250 for full hive, unless you get lucky or members help out.

    You have a working hive ready to go to work, collecting honey etc.

    A nuc might need to be fed till it grows up, so to speak. While Omie is correct, within 4-6 weeks it will be the same size, it might be too late to build a full hive to have excess going into winter. With such a small difference it is an easy decision for me.
     
  5. Medic1259

    Medic1259 New Member

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  6. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    do inform us Medic1259 when the time comes as to the quality of the product from beebabys. I have seen this link before but have not heard any feedback on service and quality.

    thrift has it's place but some folks can allow a few dollars saved to cost them many times that down the road. shaving a few bucks here and there is good policy, but how do you calculate the final tab of poor quality stuff that takes you hours rather than minutes to assemble? <perhaps a good question to pose to my own bee club, but from the get go I decided that there are some things you just have to figure out for yourself.

    since multiple boxes are normally require for even one hive a review of any of the bee catalogues should inform you of the easiest way to save which is simple to buy in enough volume to cover yourself equipment wise. this strategy alone will save you more dollars than almost anything else. with enough stuff ordered some suppliers (mann lake for one will ship free with a $200 minimum) will even ship it to you free of any shipping fees.
     
  7. red5033

    red5033 New Member

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    This looks like a pretty nice deal. What else (aside from the clothing, tool, veil and smoker) would I need to get? This is where I staart getting lost. Do just get and install a nuc or are there more accessories that need to be bought / installed?

    Thanks for all the replies thus far,

    Red,
     
  8. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Welcome aboard Red.
    Getting your hive, be it a nuc or a complete hive, is just the first step. You will need additional supers for the bees to store the "excess" honey you might hope to harvest.
    Up here (Canada) I like to kepp two deeps for brood chamber and as many as 3 honey supers per hive available. Some won't need the second or third and some may need more than three but it is a good average. You might want to decide how you will feed when necessary, be it bucket, frame, hive-top, etc.. With just a few hives you probably don't need to spend a lot of money on extracting equipment, just go the crush and strain route. Just some thoughts. Keep asking questions. :wink:
     
  9. Eddy Honey

    Eddy Honey New Member

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    I think that is a nice deal with shipping. That same setup is $90 if I pick it up from my local bee supply 10 miles away and $96 if I want it all copper dipped. I imagine if I needed it shipped somewhere it would be well over the $110 that Medic found it for.

    The place here also offers for $150- 2 deeps, 2 mediums, frames, wax foundation, telescoping top, inner cover, queen excluder, and screened bottom. Again that's if I pick it up and that is the assembled price. It's $132 for unassembled.

    Oh and to the original poster, welcome! Get a list of stuff you want and then triple it lol.
     
  10. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp New Member

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    Red, you state that you are in "N.E. Florida". I don't know if it'd help, but Dadant has a store in High Springs, FL 32655. This might help on shipping if you could pick the order up. Rossman is in Moultrie, GA 31776...handles cypress woodenware and also sells queens and packages...good folks to deal with.

    You may have already looked this over, but here is an extensive list of advertisers and sponsors on the Florida State Beekeeper's Association... http://floridabeekeepers.org/supporters.htm

    Best wishes,
    Ed
     
  11. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    Welcome to the forum Red, I would go with the nuc, it would give you more of a hands on handling of the bees. Not that buying a complete hive would be bad,( that"s a good price) but you stated the hive was used up? That could be bad for a beginner. We tell our new club members that they can figure on around $500.00 to get started, that's two hives and supers, Bees, suite, and equipment.The members of your club can help you save some money on the things you"ll need, so ask them questions. Jack
     
  12. red5033

    red5033 New Member

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    I guess that was a typo on my part when I said used up, I guess I meant used, not used up. Anyway, I had no idea start up runs around $500...I may have bit off more than I chew, financially. I was anticipating getting a used hive for $150 from a club member at the end of the month when they are ready and basic equipment I would need (smoker, veil, hive tool, etc) and spending around $250 for everything I woud need to get started, and then expand to maybe two hives later down the road. I may not have a good understanding as to what I need just yet. Obviously I am still not certain as to exactly what I need to get started..If I pick up a good used hive thats up and running, ready to go, what else will I need aside from my smoker, veil, and hive tool? The local club I just joined has extractors and other equipment available to its members to use, so I didnt figure that into my budget. Thanks again for all the responses.

    Red
     
  13. Americasbeekeeper

    Americasbeekeeper New Member

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    There are two suppliers local to Jacksonville -- Deb's Bees and North American Beehive Company
    http://deb-bee.com/
    http://www.nabeehive.com/
    If you came down to the USF bee workshops in Tampa I could send you home w/2 supers, screened bottom board, Pierco foundation, queen and brood for $106
     
  14. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Red, the only thing else you would need is a super and then misc. stuff you can pick up along the way. If you don't have the cash for 2 supers, rob a frame or two each time you find them fully capped. It is more work than doing a whole box, but it can be done. Go with the full hive and watch for local deals for the stuff you want to add.
     
  15. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    Red, you can shop around and get buy cheaper, the $500.00 dollar was a round about estimate if you bought two new hives, supers, bees, suite/w veil, smoker, gloves, hive tool,foundation, all new equipment. Like iddee said, go with the full hive and get a mentor from your club, he can help you cut corners in the cash dept. Jack
     
  16. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    and a suggestion for a 'do not'.... buy yourself a good veil or pollinator's jacket, a good pair of gloves and a decent smoker (neither large nor small, but something of reasonable size)... do not pinch pennies too much here. acceptable 'bee gear' is really essential for anyone new to this sort of thing.

    find yourself a bee club and you likely can save a great deal by obtaining used equipment and often times bees via swarms.

    and finally hang out for a short time with someone already doing 'this stuff' (or attend one of Americansbeekeeper bee school down at USF). find out if you like it first and if you really want to invest even $250. beekeeping is not for everyone... although some of us can not even imagine not doing this very odd thing.

    and good luck..
     
  17. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp New Member

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    There's been some good advice given and tec just gave some more. Do be aware that costs can add up rather quickly. Things that I as a rank(I haven't showered yet this morning) newbie) figure a person has gotta have....

    WARNING!!!!! RANK NEWBIE GIVING ADVICE!!!!!!!!!


    Protective clothing:
    Veil/Jacket - I've got a nice jacket, but as of yet I haven't worn it to the bee yard. I'll probably use it if/when I do a cut-out. I have been using a "Clear Vue" veil and a white straw(?) helmet with a heavy longsleeved white shirt. I may have to change the heavy shirt for a lighter one this summer as things warm up but I'm not sure how that'll work when I start sweating and a thinner shirt sticks to me. Another option that people take is buying a tyvek painter's suit...cheap at hardware stores but hot.
    Gloves - I have some but haven't used them. The first time I observed my mentor going into a hive he did not wear gloves. The bees crawled on his hands some...no big deal but it impressed me greatly. He did end up getting a couple of stings and I ended up getting my first one on the arm. He never reacted from his sting that I noticed and I found the sting was over and done with quickly so no big deal for me (though it got my attention when it happened and did itch for about 3 days). What I saw in my mentor was a slow, deliberate moving of the hands. If the bees seemed to get agitated he would pause for a moment and let them settle a bit. It was almost like watching a surgeon operate. The stings we got were when a frame hung on another one and lifted the other frame up about an inch out of the box and dropped it back onto the rabbet. Since then I've had a hive at the house since December and have been into it numerous times along with my two new hives....only one or two stings during that time and I haven't worn any gloves (I may get lit up any day now, but it will be by accident for sure! ;0)
    Misc. "Apparell" - Keep some ducktape handy to seal up cracks and gaps in your clothing. You can use it to seal your pants legs (I've never done this but if the bees seemed "mad" or I saw a lot on the ground crawling around I'd back up and do it in a heartbeat!). It can also seal between "pruning gloves" and sleeves. Good for sealing tears in veils, too.
    Color - WHITE. It seems that beekeeping clothing is mostly colored white for a reason...they seem not to be aggressively attracted to it, though I do have them hover around looking at it...just as they do a new hive box. White is also cooler. I've see mention where folks have bees apparently stinging them on the ankles...I'm wondering how many of these are wearing brown/black boots or shoes. I've got an old pair of black boots that I'm seriously considering painting with the paint that I'm painting my hive boxes with...might be hot, though, so may opt for white shoe polish.

    Equipment:

    Smoker - Get a good one. Ask around here, at your bee club meetings, etc., for recommendations. I've seen some good ones go for cheap on eBay and see some crappy ones go for way too much when none-bee folks think they're buying "antiques" to set on a shelf.:roll: I kinda like the cone-topped ones better than the round topped ones but I'm sure there are people who like the opposite of what I do. One with a guard around it is very nice to keep from bumping into and burning things...like your fingers. Some have plastic bellows some have heavier duty bellows made of leather or other material...I'd shy away from plastic. If I'm removing the inner cover I always want some smoke handy. If I'm just puttering around or maybe putting a mason jar feeder on top of the inner cover I don't worry with the smoker or veil.
    Smoker Fuel - Pine straw is excellent, easily lit, it makes a thick smoke and stays burning with little trouble, and in your area you should be able to get all you need for FREE. ;) The downside is that it does have a strong smell.
    I've also used some "punky"/semi-rotted hardwood in my smoker...it works pretty good but you need to be sure it's dried well. Old burlap is something else I've heard people using....be sure there is nothing toxic about it. Some people swear by wood pellets...they cost and so far I haven't been impressed with the ones that I've used.
    Hive Tool - Go ahead and get a hive tool from a bee supplier. I had a regular pry-bar/nail-puller that I thought I'd just keep laying around the bee yard but after looking at it it is close to twice as thick as my regular hive tools and the edge isn't nearly as thin or sharp for getting between pieces of equipment to pry them apart. The edge on the nail puller could be ground down a bit but a regular hive tool isn't too expensive. I did buy one that has a "hook" on the end that makes pulling/prying up frames a lot easier. Screwdrivers will work but will damage the box edges worse than the broader tip of a hive tool will.
    Feeders - Ziplock bags and mason jars. Just about as cheap as you can get. You'll need to search on how to use these as there are a couple of ways to do it.

    Woodenware:
    Basically this will be something that you will research and decide on yourself. Whether you're going to use 8-frame or 10-frame equipment. Whether you're going to use deeps and mediums or all the same size equipment. If you can, now is the best time to make these decisions so as not to find out you have some equipment that later you don't really want to use.
    Boxes - Unless you're handy with woodworking, have the equipment, and can get some really cheap wood it's about as cost effective to buy your boxes pre-cut. The "commercial" grade is usually good.
    Bottoms and tops - These *can* be built with skilsaws and other hand tools if you have the time and inclination...and some money can be saved building them. Whether it's enough to warrant making them yourself or not is debatable but you can build them like you want them. If buying tops then migratory tops will save you *several* dollars over telescoping tops and their accompanying inner covers.
    Many folks use a piece of plywood for their top. Paint is your friend with plywood...seal the edges well. Screened bottom boards appear to work very well in the deep south.
    Frames - The only way to save money here is to buy them in bulk. Look at the different offerings and figure out what type of foundation (or no foundation) you are going to use so that you purchase the correct frames. Nail and glue them well.
    Glue - Folks have their favorites. Mine is Titebond III. Don't buy anything less than a quart...you *will* use it. I bought a quart to start with and then a gallon. I use the original quart bottle as my dispenser. I've been through a half gallon since I've been working on 18 mediums and associated woodenware for six hives and several swarm traps. I use lots of glue. :)
    Nails - I know that Rossman ships their woodenware with nails...I'm not sure about other vendors (ask them). #7 box nails (thin shank) is what normally is used on boxes....#4 of the same type is used on some tops and bottoms....then you have the thin wire nails for the frames.

    Harvesting your honey can be as simple as a five gallon bucket, some old nylon stockings, and crush and strain. Or, your bee club's extractor.

    Old pallets and construction sites are good sources of free wood and even metal sheeting.


    Oh well, I know I missed a whole lot, but somethings you'll just have to cough the dough up for but somethings you can improvise on. If you find a beekeeper that is cutting back on the number of hives he/she is keeping you might be able to pick some items up rather cheaply, especially in woodenware. But, be aware that with any used woodenware there's always a chance of disease.

    Best wishes,
    Ed
     
  18. Medic1259

    Medic1259 New Member

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    Will do . hope stuff will be here by the weekend...