I'm a newbie looking for his 1st hive setup and i'm finding it difficult to choose one company over another. There seems to be large price differences between companies. Also, I kinda wanna stay traditional (no plastic, etc). Any suggestions?
Price them taking shipping into consideration and buy the cheapest. The bees aren't looking for the Hilton.
I agree, go for your best price over-all. You can get your order ready and get a quote on shipping to compare prices. You could easily pay the price of another hive just in shipping if you aren't warry.
Some questions for you:
Are you familiar with and planning on using small-cell foundation? If so, are the bees you are purchasing already on small-cell?
I ask these questions for this reason. I, and a number of other beekeepers are going to small-cell foundation. This means that I spent a lot of money on large-cell foundation that I will not use.
An alternative to the cost factor would be to build a Top Bar Hive. This will reduce the setup expense. Some of the keepers here use small strips of foundation (starter strips) in frames rather than full sheets. This might be a consideration for you if you intend to "regress" your bees.
Just things to think about to help you plan for the future.
Also, I know a lot of people who bought a starter kit or just bought deeps for the brood because "everyone" does it that way. Then after lifting deeps full of honey and hearing that you CAN use all mediums they regret ever buying the deeps. A full deep weighs 90 to 100 pounds. A full medium weighs about 60.
I run all mediums.
I agree that "beginner kits" are overpriced
collections of the cheapest junk one could
possibly imagine, and do not include what one
needs to get through even the first season.
New Jersey has a half-dozen local beekeeper
associations, one even in Morris county
where you are. The last known contact
for the Morris county organization is:
Morris Count Bkpr Assoc
Janet A. Katz
460 Rt. 24
Chester, NJ 07930
The NJ state association contact is:
RD 3 Box 101-B
Boonton, NJ 07005
Many new beekeepers who attend local
meetings find themselves showered with
gifts from beekeepers being forced by
significant others to "get rid of some
of that extra junk". Any beekeeper worthy
of the title can at least give a new beekeeper
some drawn comb to jump-start the first season.
If you contact the Rutgers Research & Extension
Center, they might point you to all sorts of
people known to have extra toys:
125 A Lake Oswego Rd.
Chatsworth, NJ 8019
609-726-1590, ext. 25
Fax: (609) 726-1593
There are a few people in NJ who do (or did)
sell equipment. The contact info below may
be out-of-date, but here's what I have:
Norma Whitetail Apiaries
1701 South East Blvd.
Vineland, NJ 08360
S & F Honey Farm, Inc.
57 Amwell Rd.
Flemington, NJ 08822
Gbee's Honey Farm
32 Hewitt Road
Stockton, NJ 08559