The initial cost for 2 hives

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by TheHolemanBrothers, Sep 25, 2013.

  1. TheHolemanBrothers

    TheHolemanBrothers New Member

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    Okay So i'm new to this and need some advice. Here are my questions, I want to have two hives but should I go with buying new equipment or going with used equipment? what would the cost difference be? Roughly how much am I looking at for the cost of one bee hive and the equipment I need? Plastic or Wood? I want at least 3 supers. Does anyone know of a good website where to buy packaged bees? One last questions What kind of bees are the best, Should I go with Italians??? Thank you
     
  2. Ray

    Ray Member

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    My suggestion is to do a search of this web site for most of your questions.
    Most have been covered. :)

    If your new to beekeeping how can you evaluate used equipment?

    Personal protection to start: a veil is enough (sometimes :) )

    Cost is variable! Do you know anybody with a router and a table saw. If you do, there are plans for all your woodware on the internet. Cutting the frames however is a task best left for cabinet makers and masochists.

    Plastic or wood? Are you trying to start a fight?

    Package bees. IMO, don't buy from a website. The shipping costs are terrible. There is a good possibility that there is someone local, that will have packages in the spring.

    What bees are best? Are you trying to start a fight?

    If you are trying to start a fight, don't forget: foundation or foundationless, small cell or large cell, chemicals or organic, 8 frame or 10 frame, supers; deep, medium or small ........

    How does that go? ask 8 different Beeks a question and get 10 different answers :)
     

  3. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    No, Ray, it's ask 10 and get 11. :duel:

    Two hives, new, plus bees, about 400.
    Protective gear, 20 to 300. That's a veil to a ventilated suit and gloves.
    Smoker and hive tool, 50.
    Supers, 40 each.

    All are variable according to your desires. You can build a box and catch a swarm, use an onion sack for a veil. FREE

    You can also blow a thousand easily.
    Walk softly and carry a big stick, and you can get into bees with little waste and at the price you want.

    PS. Welcome. Hope you like it here.
     
  4. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    and 3 is a prime number.
     
  5. blueblood

    blueblood New Member

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    Welcome to the forum first of all. I prefer new equipment. As for bees, I like my good ole feral bees. The run circles around all Italians I have bought from packages. Two deep for brood and two medium or deep for honey supers with a 3rd for both hives in case you need extra room. Sometimes a strong hive can hold 4, 5 or more supers.
     
  6. Oblio13

    Oblio13 New Member

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    Don't skimp on a suit, it's a false economy. Spend the money and get something like a Golden Bee. It takes all the anxiety out of beekeeping.

    You can't make boxes and frames as cheaply as you can buy them, if you watch for sales. December is usually the best month for that. I try to hold off on my purchases until then. I do make my own bases and transport covers.

    Knowing what I know now, I'd start with at least two hives. Four would be better. That way you have the resources to solve problems, and you won't have to wait another whole year to get going again.

    After hives and a suit, all you really need is a smoker, a hive tool and a feather to use as a brush.

    I love going through catalogs and looking at all the things I don't need.
     
  7. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    The most important advice I can offer is this.....
    first and foremost, find a great beekeeping forum............wait...sorry, see you've already done that! :wink:
     
  8. blueblood

    blueblood New Member

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    oh, and yes, about suits, I am a FIRM believer in the Ultrabreeze. I did not get stung one time through my suit this year. I was stung more than a few times through my cotton suit.
     
  9. ablanton

    ablanton New Member

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    New is always nice, but used is cheap, easy, & fast if you can find the right deal and you know the history of the equipment (or, at least, have someone you trust who knows the history of the equipment). Take for example a co-worker of mine. He started beekeeping two years ago. He lost all of his bees both years and is probably going to call it quits. I would have no qualms about buying his equipment because it is practically new. I also know that the bees died out from lack of care rather than disease.

    Don't know how handy you are with woodworking, but I have found that I can build my boxes for about half of what I'd buy them for. Yes, it takes time; but, my time is free because I enjoy it.

    I don't cut my own frames. That's just crazy. Tried it a couple of times and very nearly wound up in anger management classes. I buy them unassembled in bulk and put them together myself.

    Gotta have a good smoker.

    I don't wear a suit. I keep a veil close by just in case I get into a hive that's a little testy. Stings to the face are not fun. Stings to the body I can endure easily enough.

    I tried both 10-frame and 8-frame and will likely never use a 10-frame again.

    I tried both plastic foundation and wax foundation and will likely never use plastic again.

    I use wooden frames and probably won't try plastic this side of never.

    I bought Italians because that is what was readily available. They will become mutts over time and I'll leave them that way.
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2013
  10. pistolpete

    pistolpete New Member

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    The best bees you can get are local ones from an apiary that has been operating for a long time. As for cost, 500 to 1000 to get set up with two hives of bees and all the gear. Get Nucs rather than packages if you can. Don't wait too long to secure your bees. Most suppliers sell out by February.
     
  11. heinleinfan

    heinleinfan New Member

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    Welcome to the forum! And good call wanting to start with 2 hives, I think that's really best for beginning keeping.


    As others have said, there's a lot of opinions. My husband and I started beekeeping on a serious budget, and here's some advice I have: it's going to cost more than you think. LOL!

    But, around $400 is a good starting point and rough estimate to set up 2 hives.

    If you haven't already, get in touch with your local beekeeping club, there are state associations that can tell you where the closest local club is. Local and state clubs often have members working together to buy equipment, and know local suppliers, where to get packages and all that jazz. The major suppliers for gear online are Mann Lake, and Dadant & Sons. Their prices, quality, shipping and customer service are all about even, they are both good companies. Both them offer slight discounts for bulk buying, with bulk being 50+. You'd need 40 deep frames/foundations and 60 super frames/foundations (assuming 2 deeps and 3 supers each hive) and so you could get a few extra deeps frames, you'll need them anyway.

    Here are some average prices from my searching around online 2 years ago for prices. You could use this as a kind of guide when shopping around, this is also the 'bare bones' list of what you'd need to start, except for feeders and foundations:
    deep box - $18
    shallow super box - $14
    deep wood frames - 10 for $12
    shallow super wood frames - 10 for $11
    lids - $10 for inner, $20 for outer
    bottom board - $15 for solid, $18 for screened
    hive tool - $10
    smoker - $35
    hat/veil - $25

    Feeders, foundations and clothing are *very* personal and specific. I myself use in-hive feeders that take the place of 2 frames and hold 2 gallons, and use all wax foundations but I'm going foundationless. I don't use anything but a veil.

    Personally, I will only ever get used bee equipment from someone I know and trust. My local club will send out notices when a reputable keeper has used equipment for sale. But honestly, I've never seen any used equipment in my area, through craigslist or whatever, that was a significant enough savings to tweak my frugal bone into taking the risk.

    Most suppliers have 3 grades of hive bodies, something like budget, commercial and select. I have always used the 'budget' or 'economy' level and never had any problems with messed up or warped items or them falling apart. You can save money building your own hive box and frames from the unassembled bits from most suppliers, if you're not a woodworker who can make your own. It also saves on shipping if you're ordering online since then it's mostly by weight and not an oversized box. Assembly is very easy, just a bit time consuming if you're doing wood frames.

    I like Italians and have only one year's experience with Carniolans, and that was not a good one. I will stick with Italians and feral swarms from now on. Honestly, I think Italians are just a good, solid starting breed for beginners.

    For buying packages my preference is to find a supplier whose bees are raised as close to my location as possible. Sure, I could order in a package from Georgia...but my weather is nothing like Georgia's. I think bees who've been raised in my mountain climate are going to have a better first year than ones from across the country shipped here all of a sudden.


    Good luck and have fun!!!
     
  12. BoilerJim

    BoilerJim New Member

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    What Blueblood said, "I like my good ole feral bees." Same here. They are the only ones (for me anyway) that usually survive the winter here in Indiana.
     
  13. Beeracuda

    Beeracuda New Member

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    I just started this year. I haven't added everything up, but my gut feeling about what I spent was $1,000.00.

    I started out with a hat & veil & a heavy denim shirt. 27 stings later, I finally broke down and bought an Ultrabreeze. I haven't been stung since. :smile:
     
  14. lazy shooter

    lazy shooter New Member

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    I would set aside a thousand bucks for the first year and a half. It is doubtful you will have a harvest on your first year, although some berks have a nice first years harvest from nuclear hives. I agree that the wooden ware and bees will be about four to five hundred bucks, but the little extras like hive tools, gloves, medications and feed, and etc will add up more than you think. If you have a helper, wife or child, it is two bee suits or jackets. lt seems a good percentage of our sideliners make their hobbies profitable after a couple of years. As they say, "you can do it." In my case, after two years, it's not profitable in monetary terms, but it has been the source of a multitude of happy days. At 74 years of age, happy days are more important than money. Maybe that's the case at your age.
     
  15. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    Carlos andn Isaac, you've received a good selection of answers so I won't try to respond to all your questions---just a comment about one of the answers you received.
    For starting a first year of beekeeping, one hive is too few. In my opoinion, four is too many--there are so many things you have to learn on the practical side of things, mistakes made can turn out VERY costly. TWO hives--that IMHO is an ideal starting number. You can devote a lot of time to each one, learn the tricks of manipulation well and the second hive serves as a backup for anything that goes wrong with the first.
    If you see things are going nicely, you can always look for swarms and cut-outs for fast and easy increase or make splits out of strong hives that you've managed well.
     
  16. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    I will DITTO what Ef said, but add that 2 inhabited hives and 1 uninhabited hive would be the best. With 2 hives and neighborhood gossip, you are most likely going to be called for a nice swarm and will want a hive to put it in.
     
  17. Ray

    Ray Member

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    I want to caution you! What are you going to do with a fancy suit and a 1000 $ of equipment if you wind up disliking bees?
     
  18. litefoot

    litefoot New Member

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    I am in my second year and I'll just tell you what I wish I had done. I wish I had bought two suits instead of one so my wife could have been right in there with me from the beginning (handling frames, extacting honey, taking photos). I wish I had started two hives instead of one. I wish I had done more research on hive box sizes. I spent a lot of money on standard 10-frame deep hive bodies when I now think I would have preferred 8-frame mediums for brood boxes and supers. Do some research on the pros/cons of both before you buy. Oh, and if you buy from an on-line retailer, your only savings will be if you do/don't get free shipping...at least in my experience.
     
  19. Oblio13

    Oblio13 New Member

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    This is a good point, and a dilemma. Many (most?) new beekeepers quit after a year or two, mostly because of stings and/or not being able to keep bees alive.

    So, do you spend the money to be comfortable around your bees and keep your hives going and enjoy the new hobby?

    Or save money but get stung and start all over again with new bees every spring?
     
  20. Lburou

    Lburou Member

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    Plenty of good advice already, I would urge you to find a bee club closeby and buy from someone there. I like to sell bees in new equipment. :)