I have built my first hive, total cost 40ish dollars, But am trying to do this on no budget. I was scrounging materials for the first hive and finally gave in and bought the 1X12's, wire cloth and a good quality primer and paint. So I think I was about 50% successful. I am now on the look out for materials for my second hive.
In the mean time I am not going to get very far at all without bees. My first plan is to lure bees to my hive. Any suggestions on how to make a hive more appealing? I have seen lemmon grass oil mentioned. I have also read quite a bit on lure boxes or nuc hives. using cobs of brood, smashing up old queens in alcohol etc. Remember I don't have bees, I also don't have a nuc hive. I do have a top bar with a follow board that allows me to reduce the effective space of the hive. I don't have a lot of hope in finding a swarm but no reason not to maximize my chances. I can't get bees til next spring anyway and most of the bees will be swarming around here by then. Never know I might get lucky and have one move in. then I have something to work with to populate my other hives and makes improving a matter of the cost of a queen rather than a whole nuc or package.