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Thread: cheap hives

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    new south wales,australia
    Posts
    40

    Post

    Hi everyone, [img]smile.gif[/img]
    We have about 40 lang hives and hoped to double this season.Financial setbacks for myself and my mate puts this on hold.As a challenge I am trying to make the cheapest hive possible.

    Have been making two types,both made around the dimensions of a three box long deep.

    One uses frames i make that i can use in the extractor,it has 35mm top bars so there are no gaps.The other is more a traditional top bar with some rounded pieces as side support.no bottom bar.Crush and drain for this type.

    I have been using old fence palings for the sides and ends on both.Rip the palings on the triton for the frame parts and the top bars.

    Bottom board and lids from old signs from sign writers.Called Weathertex over here.Have been using it for lids and bottom boards on our langs.

    Also scrounging from the signwriters Corflute signs,like corrugated plastic sheets.Over here all the For Sale signs used by real estate agents are this stuff.Can fold it to make a lid over top bars.

    So far my only cost is the screws and power.Could have made flasher hives using store bought dressed timber but i think i have enjoyed the cheapo challenge.A Google searh for cheap skate will probably throw up my name.

    Every concept for these hives came from this site,if you want to try something all the info is here.

    Thank you
    Beebloke [img]smile.gif[/img]

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Knoxville, TN
    Posts
    1,933

    Post

    I would love to see some pictures of your salvage hives! I just finished a $15 chicken barn. I may splurge and buy some paint! (returned color of course) I'm in the same situation you are for expanding my apiary and am looking at the possibilities. I'll be checking out some local salvage yards for lumber for lang supers. I would really be interested in seing some detail of your frames. Seems like skipping on the foundation opens up the frame possibilities. My covers and bottom boards are usually always found items except for the screen. I'm pefecting a 2X4 design for screened bot. boards since 2X4's are durable and so easy to find here.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Hookstown PA USA
    Posts
    581

    Post

    For those of us who don't "have" to use TBH that is one of the biggest appeals. At least to me anyways. There is something nice about knowing you have nothing but time and fastners in a hive you just built. I am laid off right now so I am trying to stockpile finished hive for the future. Well that and use up the pile of lumber I have too. [img]smile.gif[/img]

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Casper, Wy, USA
    Posts
    806

    Post

    Hi Guys,

    Cheap is nice but what really appeals to me is the simplicity. My experience with tbh simplicity started with the hive itself. But it has encompassed every aspect of thb beekeeping including the equipment, management and the harvest.

    I've put away every beekeeping tool except for my smoker and veil. I've even put away my grafting tools. These hives can pretty much run themselves when they have a healthy queen and enough food. I can work them when I choose to or not! And they do just fine.

    Today, I 'extracted' 90lbs of honey from one tbh. It's almost tooo easy :&gt))

    And I know that whatever situation I find myself in, I can always have a hive of bees if I choose. And that's neat.

    And I think I could use my tbh beekeeping knowledge and maybe even make enough enough money to live off of with tbhs if I had too. And that's really neat.

    Regards
    Dennis
    I once wrangled bees. But now, I know better, so I do better.
    http://talkingstick.me/category/bees/

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    1,525

    Post

    Dennis have you really given that some thought? If so share the thought process. If not Let's work through it. How many hives (tbh) would it take to make a decent living? Is it just honey or would you sell propolis, royal jelly, queens, etc. Is there a maximum number of hives in one beeyard?

    Hawk
    KC0YXI

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Alpine, TX
    Posts
    104

    Post

    Hi Dennis,
    If you have a honey comb that measures roughly 15 inches across at the top and 9 inches deep about what would it weigh?
    I'm asking because I'm thinking about wintering and sufficient stores... obviously another thread but since you mentioned how much you just harvested well, I figured I'd ask.
    Thanks
    Jean
    I smile like this because I have no idea what I\'m doing :-)

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Casper, Wy, USA
    Posts
    806

    Post

    Hi Robert,

    There are just too many variable to quantify. Some of the most important are economic as the amount of profit is the sum of it all when you are in business. Opportunity costs are also extremely relative.

    Wholesale honey prices are less than half what they were a few months ago. Some wholesale producers, who were making a handsom profit back then, are now operating well below their cost of production! Ah, agriculture!

    Yet, retail prices are still high, although demand has decreased somewhat.

    So, how would you design your commercial operation ? How much do you like beework versus sales? What kind of markets are available? What kind of competition do you have? What are your production, opportunity and capital costs. What are your expections and needs?

    In some areas of this country it's quite possible to produce 400lbs/hive. In others it's hard to produce even 40lbs. Yet, I can think of situations where a beekeeper could succeed or fail in either location.

    My suggestion for anyone thinking of doing bees for a living is to work for a commercial beekeeper for awhile. Do it on weekends, etc. and do it for a season or two. Very few people who love beekeeping will find bee wrangling a life calling. The opportunity costs are often just too high.

    If that's not possible, then start a small sideline bee business. You can get familiar with the peculiarities of your location and personal preferences. Let the business grow itself. Then, if the economics pan out, you can formulate a good business plan and go full time. You can control those opportunity costs or even abandon the whole process with minimal negative impact if necessary.

    Some Thoughts
    Dennis
    I once wrangled bees. But now, I know better, so I do better.
    http://talkingstick.me/category/bees/

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Casper, Wy, USA
    Posts
    806

    Post

    Hi Jean,

    >If you have a honey comb that measures roughly 15 inches across at the top and 9 inches deep about what would it weigh?

    That's about the same size as a deep frame and I would expect it to weigh about the same.

    The amount of honey needed to overwinter a hive varies quite alot. I live in a cold climate where the bees don't fly much during the winter and almost no nectar sources are available during the spring. The bees use almost no honey during the winter, but quickly consume it during the spring.

    I can imagine different situations that would change the amount of honey required. Warm winters and long nectareless spring; cold winter with lots of early nectar; etc. My best advice would be to leave plenty of honey on and monitor the bees spring needs for a season or two. If in doubt, put some feed(sugar, foundant, etc) toward the rear of the hive. After that, you will know how much reserves they require and won't need a scale to measure it because you will be familiar with the dynamics of your hive design, management and climate.

    Regards
    Dennis
    I once wrangled bees. But now, I know better, so I do better.
    http://talkingstick.me/category/bees/

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