Page 1 of 13 12311 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 250
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts
    1,974

    Question What are some of your cost-saving methods?

    The cost of beekeeping can vary a lot.

    And if a person decides to "go big" and get into beekeeping up over 50 hives, the costs can really begin to add up - time and money.

    Take for instance the hive cover of a typical langstroth:

    If you go the route of a store-bought inner and outer cover, you can pay $30 or more per hive. Over the course of 50 hives, that's $1500 plus tax and/or shipping. On the other hand, if you go the root of a piece of reclaimed ply for an outer, and a feed bag for an inner - you could do the whole lot for $100 or even less. If the remaining $1400 is applied in an equally frugal way, you could probably do a lot. It all depends on who you are, how you approach things, and how much you're prepared to spend on your bees.

    So for those of you who set your mind to economy, what have you done to save your pennies? How would you advise a beekeeper to design or manage their operation to save time and/or money?


    Adam

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Santa Rosa County, Florida
    Posts
    403

    Default Re: What are some of your cost-saving methods?

    I will just take your outer and inner cover as an example.The following assumes you have at least a cheap table saw.
    I cut a plywood cover and rip sides out of a 2x4 for my telescoping outer cover.Then cover this with aluminum flashing.These are not as pretty as factory covers but just as servicible.Presto...telescoping cover for about 5 bucks.
    I cut the plywood hive size for the inner cover and rip 3/8 inch pieces for the rims both sides.
    I then cut a hole to fit mason jar for feeding.This gives you an inner cover that doubles for feeding.The only small drawback is that the bees will burr comb up the feed hole.Not a big deal.
    You also have room with this inner cover to put a shb cd case trap top and bottom.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rockford, MI
    Posts
    2,592

    Default Re: What are some of your cost-saving methods?

    I build everything from scratch with scrap wood leftover from building projects.. YES even the frames.

    Works well for me and gives me some time off from the hectic pace of life.

    get-attachment-6.aspx.jpg

    P4100175.jpg

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Westland Mi
    Posts
    122

    Default Re: What are some of your cost-saving methods?

    I build as much as I can myself including medium boxes and my extract. Something like frames and foundation I still buy.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Laurel Hill, Florida, USA
    Posts
    258

    Default Re: What are some of your cost-saving methods?

    Buy everything in bulk. Build what you can. I'm looking at buying a trailerload of white pine in bulk to build my own boxes, bottom boards, and lids. Its a fraction of the price. I dont use inner covers. Never had a problem without them. just one more thing to maintain and move. Im Also buying corn syrup by the 55 gal drum now. Preserve your wood the best you can to save money in the long run dont buy cheap paint. For larger equipment like extractor, buy what gives you the biggest bang for you buck. Spend a little extra on a bigger extractor even if you Dont need one that size yet cause you will eventually. Another excellent way to save big is buy everthing used if you can find hat you need . Only buy hives if you have to. Make splits and catch swarms.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Hudson, WI USA
    Posts
    2,200

    Default Re: What are some of your cost-saving methods?

    So far my biggest saving has been by splitting hives and making nucs. Package bees are expensive.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Kaysville, Utah, USA
    Posts
    384

    Default Re: What are some of your cost-saving methods?

    • Build what you can. If you don't want something fancy, a basic BB or SBB can be made for just a few dollars and a little time, no expert skills needed. Telescoping covers aren't much more difficult. The bee's don't care that your equipment was expensive. They're perfectly willing to live in an old tree, or a wall.
    • Use what's on hand. I had a little bit of stain and some old spar urethane in the back of the cupboard. Guess how my feeder got finished? It looks first-class. I've been painting my boxes with paint I have on hand, as well. I built my robber screens out of stuff I had on the wood pile and in the shed. Literally cost me nothing but a couple of minutes.
    • Look for cheap/free exterior paint at the recycling exchange, Lowes, etc.
    Don't provoke a hive full of angry bees.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Arlee MT USA
    Posts
    548

    Default Re: What are some of your cost-saving methods?

    Foundationless. Migratory covers. Solid bottom boards.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Grayson, KY
    Posts
    274

    Default Re: What are some of your cost-saving methods?

    Here's an easy plan for a screened bottom board. http://www.myoldtools.com/Bees/botto...ottomboard.htm
    Cost me around $15 bucks to build two. I had to buy all the materials new.

    Inner covers are cheap to do. I had some scrap plywood so I just rip a one inch board that was scrap too.

    I built two telescoping covers for less than the price of one. Piece of ply with 1 x 4 sides. I got the metal from a air conditioning repair place. It was scrap too. Make sure this metal is pretty thin. The stuff I got was kinda heavy and my stapler/nailer would only go thru it about 75% of the time. http://www.michiganbees.org is where I got my plans from.

    I've not tried boxes yet. They are high on my list.
    I will probably never try frames. They seem too complicated for my meager carpentry skills. But, I'm getting better.

    Something I do plan on is making my own foundation. I don't see myself buying one of the mills though. Too expensive. I did see one recently on eBay for around $600. That's still a bunch of foundation to cover the cost. I think a mold is more doable. I just need lots more wax and time. I would like to mention a foundation mill as a project for our beekeeping club. They will probably look at me like I'm an alien evan though we all are pouring cash out to buy the stuff.

    I was going to build an extractor until I found a used one on Craigslist for a fourth of its new cost. Plus it had a bunch of extras.

    I'm building a 12 volt oxalic vaporizer that won't cost more than $20 and most of that was for the glow plug.

    Do I need to say I like to build stuff?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    San Mateo, Ca, USA
    Posts
    408

    Default Re: What are some of your cost-saving methods?

    make your own migratory covers from leftover plywood. It's a no brainer and if you go with the right type of plan you don't even need to cut it with precise cuts (i.e. have a table saw)

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Issaquah,WA,USA
    Posts
    2,381

    Default Re: What are some of your cost-saving methods?

    Pick a different hobby like rock collecting.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,384

    Default Re: What are some of your cost-saving methods?

    First, make you own equipment. I get 1x12, planed, kiln dried white pine for $.30/bdft. I can make a single...bottom, box, inner, outer, for less than $20 US.

    Second, don't manage a large apiary as you do a small. It takes practice and self control, but you have to learn how to diagnose/evaluate a colony and move on to the next.

    Third, you need a good management plan to, for instance...to stop swarming preparations before they starts. Think not getting behind on your bee work. Playing catch-up takes more hours of work than proper, timely management.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Marysville, WA
    Posts
    477

    Default Re: What are some of your cost-saving methods?

    Quote Originally Posted by Aerindel View Post
    Foundationless. Migratory covers. Solid bottom boards.
    that along with wintering my own nucs makes for some huge savings.
    Beekeeper? Shoot, my bees keep me!
    100 hives in Western Wa State

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    KC, MO, USA
    Posts
    1,168

    Default Re: What are some of your cost-saving methods?

    Look at your mite treatment costs, commercial treatments can be expensive.
    Essential oils, oxalic acid, thymol can be effective cheap alternatives.

    Make what you can. Even buying new premium wood will still you a bundle.

    Splits and swarm traps = Free bees.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Crenshaw County, Alabama
    Posts
    2,001

    Default Re: What are some of your cost-saving methods?

    My best project so far....modding my screened bottom boards for about $6 to turn them into nice SHB oil-tray traps... Simple oil tray mod for sbb's...

    Ed

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    966

    Default Re: What are some of your cost-saving methods?

    I make boxes and migratory covers from Advantech.
    It's less expensive than plywood, and very water resistant.
    Inner covers are only used for jar feeders, and made of whatever is at hand.

    Bottom boards are either Advantech or 1/2" ext. Ply, w/ 3/8" shim around the edge, painted.

    Increase is made by aggressive splitting, using my best looking swarm cells, a few bought in queens, and learning to graft.

    Foundationless frames and plastic frames --- in order to save time/money in assembling and no foundation to purchase. Foundationless are put only between nice drawn frames to prevent cross comb/fat comb that can occur if you put several undrawn foundationless frames together.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Kenosha, Wisconsin, USA
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: What are some of your cost-saving methods?

    Michael,
    Where are you finding kiln dried at 1x12 at $.30bdft? That's a great price! I've considered making my own, but when I calculated my materials, my saving was only a couple of bucks.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Canton, OH
    Posts
    57

    Default Re: What are some of your cost-saving methods?

    I buy cheapest-I-can-find lumber from Menards and build a Medium for about $3.50. Bottom boards and covers are made out of scap pine and CDX ply. Paint from the ReStore. Top cover roofs are salvanged aluminum from an old truck cap. I haven't attempted frames yet, but I get them for about $0.78 each from a local Amish guy. I am attempting foundationless and it seems to be working okay but the oldtimers give me crap about it. I think my biggest expense my first year has been sugar.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Santa Rosa County, Florida
    Posts
    403

    Default Re: What are some of your cost-saving methods?

    I use foundation in my brood boxes because I sell some single story hives.For the medium supers I use "starter strips to keep everything going in the right direction.For the strips I take a sheet of
    wired deep foundation and cut between the wires.Turn these horizontal and you won't have trouble with cross comb.One sheet of deep per 8 frame medium.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    2,849

    Default Re: What are some of your cost-saving methods?

    When I first started I didn't think much about foundation, but now that I've bought a bit of it, I like the suggestion from gone and Beregondo. Turning one sheet into 4-8 starter strips or doing foundationless between two nice frames will save you a good bit of money starting up.

Page 1 of 13 12311 ... LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Ads