Hi- I really appreciate all the insight and guidance being provided from the bb!!!! My current question is... How much should I pay for a complete hive (hive stand, bottom board, 2 deeps (with 10 frames), queen excluder, 2 supers (with 10 frams), inner cover, hive cover) ?
Where would you recommend purchasing the hives? Commercial, Select or Budget qualities?
I am just trying to get a feel for the investment required to get started.... I think I am going to start with two hives this spring using nucs?
I appreciate the time you may take to help me in my endeavors!
I'd skip the hive stand, just use a cinder block. And definitely no boardman feeders, unless you want to study robbing behavior.
Well your choices are limitless.
I think it best that you start out with new equipment. There are many good dealers on the East coast. Dadant, Brushy Mountain or Betterbee are good to work with. Most of these companies are competitive in their pricing. If possible, buy from someone really close and pick it up yourself. Shipping can really add up and will run your cost basis up. Combine with a friend if you have to.
Not knowing your economic situation it is hard to be need specific. I have found commercial equipment to be more than adequate, but have known some who will only buy select.
You could also buy cypress if you didnt want to paint. Cypress has a very long life and can be purchased from Busy Bee apiaries or Rossman.
Standardize and stay away from oddly made equiment. The interchangeability will kill you later on.
You had better place your order now if you already havent for your nucs. I have a feeling bees are going to be hard to find this spring.
>Hi- I really appreciate all the insight and guidance being provided from the bb!!!! My current question is... How much should I pay for a complete hive (hive stand, bottom board, 2 deeps (with 10 frames), queen excluder, 2 supers (with 10 frams), inner cover, hive cover) ?
Price them everywhere near you. Betterbee, Brushy Mt, Walter T. Kelly are not too far for shipping and all have good products.
Personally I wouldn't buy any deeps. A full deep weighs 90 pounds. A full medium weighs 60 pounds. I'd just get mediums all the way around. Three will make a brood nest. Four mediums will make something closer to an "unlimited" brood nest.
>Where would you recommend purchasing the hives? Commercial, Select or Budget qualities?
I never buy select. It's a beehive, not a cabinet. Commercial, is by definition, what a commercial beekeeper would buy. This means it's not going to be a pain to nail it together. It's not going to be warped or have an knots fall out, but it will work fine. Budget usually is warped or has a knot or two that is loose or falls out. If you're really poor and trying to get buy, you may be able to make the budget ones work. I buy the commercial.
>I am just trying to get a feel for the investment required to get started.... I think I am going to start with two hives this spring using nucs?
Two is a good number. Gives you one to get resources from if one is failing. Of course nucs usually come in deeps and I'd rather have mediums, but nucs will get a good start in the spring and may make some honey the first year.
I would always go for the commercial grade. Budget grade is ok but you have to be careful as it is junk from some places and ok from other places.
My suggestion is to start with 3 hives. It gives you a broader scope to learn from, and as Michael bush has stated it gives you some resources to draw from.
I alwyas suggest starting with 3 hives, though 2 is MUCH better than 1. With 1 hive, if the colony is in bad shape, you have no resources to draw from.
You might also consider top bar hives. Many of us here advocate their use, and are expermenting with them. One of the greatest advantages being cost, a "standard" langroth beehive can cost $250 to start and up to $500 for a truly complete hive, a top bar hive can cost as little as $0 if made from scrap materials, to $50 if you buy pristine lumber to make them from.
The only additional costs are protective wear (gloves, veil and/or suit), and some support equipment like smoker and hive tool. And of course the cost of the bees themselves, the bees tend to cost between $50 - $150 depending on breed, supplier and how they are supplied. The costs for these are the same whether you buy a langstroth hive, or build your own top bar hive.
Scot Mc Pherson
"Linux is a Journey, not a Guided Tour" ~ Me
"Do or not do, there is no try" ~ Master Yoda
I'll probably take heat on this one but I have had really good luck over the years (yes, I said luck) in buying used equipment that I was confident about the person and their disease history. Even so, you take your chances. I bought enough woodenware for 10 hives, 2 almost new uncapping knives - I should see if I can sell one of them on e-bay for $100+ - - 200 sheets foundation, and a myriad of other stuff (smokers, hive tools, wire, nails, spur embedder, etc..) for $100. It took a lot of time to clean, strip, re-paint etc.. but for me was well worth it - - since I don't sleep much, I have more time than money. Luckily, I have had no foulbrood and I don't pro-actively treat with Terramycin. This is how I have expanded over the years buying 2-10 complete hives at a time.
In terms of protective equipment... do what you feel comfortable with. I usually work my bees in shorts and a t-shirt. I rarely use my veil but at the very least you should have one - there are times that I use it for sure! I also use my veil as a little flight cage for helping me to ensure that I don't loose a queen when I'm marking her (queen cage into veil and close it around your hands. Then release and capture her to mark).
Good luck and have fun!!
I just skimmed this thread so dont know if feeders were mentioned,But be sure to figure in a few bags of sugar for syrup.A weak nuc and especially a package will need some feeding to get going.It is extremely important that the new hive not be stressed with a food shortage at this most critical time in its developement.A gallon glass jar will work great as a feeder.
Thanks again for your input-- I have narrowed my search down to: Mann Lake Ltd. ... Their cost for a complete hive is $169 with everything I "THINK" I need except queen excluder and top feeder... does anyone have any feedback on Mann Lake? Any other recommendations? Thanks!
Mann Lake is just about all I use. They almost always have the best prices, and best equipment. I've used others just for oddball things that Mann Lake didn't have. Be prepared for hefty shipping charges, however, no matter who you ship from (hives are heavy).
Good choice Deronburgh, I buy alot from Mannlake and I like the service and quality. Some things are a little high but you came in well below the figures that were given from others. Like the super dandy handyman capable of 0 cost in a TBH, as previously mentioned, some can actually make standard hives and components for less money also. I would make measurements of the equipment you ordered. This is great if you every want to make any equipment for yourself.
Standard hives cost 250-500, but TBH are 0 cost? One can be made out of scrap but the other can not? I hope spring arrives soon before I explode.
I do a lot of business with Mann Lake. The quality and service are fine. I also do a lot of business with Walter T. Kelly, Western Bee Supply and Brushy Mt. I also buy things from Betterbee and the Beeworks. All have treated me well. Sometimes I buy from them because they are the only place that sells what I want and sometimes it' because they are the cheapest. Be sure you include shipping in any comparison. Shipping is quite often the deciding factor in the actual bottom line.
I don't know of anyplace that is always the cheapest on everything. It depends on what you want, what the shipping is and if anyone else has it. I would get in the habit of shopping around for everything for beekeeping.
Hi... I live in Pittsburgh, PA. What would one expect to pay for shipping for a complete hive? $45 dollarish? (that is what I did using worksheet in Mann Lake catalog... rough guess). Do you know of any vendors near PA that you would recommend? I guess I would save on sales tax, but pay for shipping... where if I bought in PA I could drive to pickup but have to pay sales tax? not that I am being cheap-- just trying to get a feel how to best begin my endeavor. I did find a company called Draper... they are close enough to drive to and possibly pick everything up and bees?? I can't wait. I take my "weekend class" on the 14th and plan on placing my orders for hives/bees that week. Thanks for the ongoing good advice!
> dollarish? (that is what I did using worksheet in Mann Lake catalog... rough guess)
I got a 50 lb bag of pollen substitute and a case of bee pro patties two weeks ago. When I placed the order on-line the shipping was to be over $50 bucks, turned out to be $17 twice as they shipped seperately. Call them for exact shipping.
Drapers is also a good company to deal with, if you have one close by, and the prices are about the same for what you want, you will save on shipping charges by ordering through them.
I ordered everything last winter from Mann Lake. Their calculator is a bit high(was for me anyway). Email them with a list of everything you plan to order with an address and they will get back to you in a timely manner. Great people to deal with. I made the misstake of buying the beginner kit and the growing apairy kit. I hated dealing with the comb not being drawn properly on the plastic foundation. I have also decided to go all mediums because of weight and a bad back. Boardman feeders set off robbing and that is the type of feeder that comes with the starter kit. Kelly has a showroom in Kentucky that is about 4 hours away from me. So for me driving is not a good idea unless I need alot.
That's my problem with starter kits. They aren't what I would buy to start with. I don't like just a veil, which most have. I don't like the boardman feeder, which most have. I prefer an Italian hive tool, which only Brushy Mt. has. I usually like the smoker ok. They tend to come with plastic foundation so you don't have to wire, but if you want to start with small cell or something other wax foundation it may not be what you want. I prefer all medium depth boxes and think most people would because most of us can't lift 90 pound boxes easily but most starter kits come with two deeps or even one deep. Some come with two deeps and no supers. Some come with one deep and a shallow super. I would buy four mediums to start with and then some more mediums when those look like they are filling up and the flow isn't over yet. Most don't come with a Screened Bottom Board, which is what I would recommend. So all in all, almost every piece of equipment, other than the smoker, is not what I would have bought or recommended in the first place.
On page 116 of this months ABJ there is an add advertising woodenware located in Greencastle, PA from Beeline Apiaries. Deeps are advertised at $ 6.33, bottom boards $ 4.72. This would be worth looking into. Phone is 717/597-7059 (No Sunday calls)
I have bought from him (Jonathan Showalter) at Beeline several times. 100 deeps last week. He also does custom work and has seconds on some items with an additional 25% off. Good Stuff. He does not do dovetail, but I pick up to save shipping and no tax. Can't beat it. He is a commercial beekeeper and will get busy soon, so call if interested. You can call in the order and if he needs to make it, he'll get the order together ahead of time and have it ready for you.