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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Jamesville, NY
    Posts
    273

    Default Two hives for sale - Is this a good situation/deal?

    Hello all,

    First let me say thanks in advance to all posters who can lend me some of their perspective on my situation.

    I am not a beekeeper (yet), but plan on adding 2-3 hives in the spring. My plan is to go treatment free, foundationless in 10 langs or similar.

    I recently had an offer tossed over my way to get two hives (2 deep brood configuration) for $500 + extras below. The hives have been in existence for two years, this is their 2nd winter coming up. The bees are of unknown origin and had some queens, that may have been hygenic, but this was not possible to confirm, so I am assuming feral bee traits so I don't get my hopes up.

    Bees:
    1. unknown stock
    2. have swarmed and the queen is likely to be made from the hive
    3. not treated ever (see below, this isn't a case of treatment free management, rather untreated bees)
    4. hives seem strong according to seller

    Hives:
    1. two deep 10 lang hives with enough stores to get through the winter
    2. 6 extra 10 langs with frames, comb drawn out in each frame for a total of about 75% drawn out comb across all frames.


    Along with the deal comes:
    1. A couple hive tools
    2. an old smoker that is on its last leg
    3. two bee jackets, one with veil and one with hard helmet
    4. queen exlcuders
    5. home made bottom boards that are screened.


    Seller:
    1. getting out of bee keeping after 2 years, said he didn't have time needed and didn't put the effort in needed.

    Each hive made it through last winter and then he did two splits that failed (he thought the bees probably absconded and went back into their original hive). He has been bee keeping for 2 years and this would be the second winter. He said not all the equipment is new but all of it is serviceable. It sort of feels like he just let the bees go, instead of managing the bees in a treatment free format. Said they produced one deep super and probably would have done two but he didn't get back to the bees to put another super on.

    My gut tells me that these bees may die this winter due to lack of managment style. So I sort of feel compelled to treat this as a hardware buy and if the hives make the winter then I am lucky.

    Any opinions on this deal? Let's pretend that I would have the hives inspected in the next week and everything comes back good.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Fairfield County, Connecticut, USA
    Posts
    3,594

    Default Re: Two hives for sale - Is this a good situation/deal?

    Really?

    $500 can buy a lot of new (clean) woodenware and fresh bees...

    I wouldn't advise anyone to buy that stuff.
    BeeCurious
    Trying to think inside the box...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Jamesville, NY
    Posts
    273

    Default Re: Two hives for sale - Is this a good situation/deal?

    I still laugh every time I read your name

    That was my though too (prcing out in dadant's catalog now). I guess that prospect of wanting bees was hoping there was a silver lining to that. IN the spring that might be an ok offer but just before winter...

    Even then, I still worry about disease that might be brought in

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Maryville, tn, usa
    Posts
    208

    Default Re: Two hives for sale - Is this a good situation/deal?

    I bought wooden ware for two hives this spring- two bottom boards, four deep 10 frame langs, two inner covers, two outer covers, foundation for all and two 3 lb packages it was more than 500$ but it was all new. Is it a good deal depends on condition of equipment? With a year or two experience and lotsa reading about problems hives can have I think with an inspection you could decide yourself as is I would suggest finding a mentor and have them check it out with you... You might also offer a lower price after inspecting I think it is obvious that the price would go up after winter.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Issaquah,WA,USA
    Posts
    2,386

    Default Re: Two hives for sale - Is this a good situation/deal?

    Melt the comb and bleach the wooden ware and you should be fine. Would not buy it before winter though. Price seems a little high also. Buy them in the spring and requeen with known stock and then they will be your bee's. After they build up of course. Replace all the frames of comb in groups during a flow so you have new comb and you are good to go. Let his price come down though alot.

    Or save yourself the trouble and buy new.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    2,874

    Default Re: Two hives for sale - Is this a good situation/deal?

    You need to assess the bees first, then the quality of the equipment. If the hives are booming with bees and frames of brood look good and it's full of stores, it's an OK deal. Typically, that would be a spring price though as the bees survived the winter. If you are unable to winter the bees, then obviously it's not a very good deal, but if the colonies look good now, that's ur fault. The question is, do you want to buy hives now and winter your colony as an absolutely new beek, or hang onto your $$ and get some colonies in spring that have survived already.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Corvallis, OR
    Posts
    223

    Default Re: Two hives for sale - Is this a good situation/deal?

    If you're planning to go foundationless, buying 10 boxes full of drawn comb is not a great way to start...

    That said, you will probably spend around $500 (maybe closer to $600) at the bee store buying boxes, frames, package bees, hive tools, etc. Bee jackets cost around $50 or more new. Then you have to assemble frames and boxes, paint the hives, etc. All of which can be a good "rite of passage" for a new beekeeper but is also work that takes time.

    IF the equipment is in good shape (well-built, painted, not rotten), disease free, and has drawn comb less than three years old, I would estimate it is worth about $30 per box used, or around $300 for the ten boxes. Maybe an extra $75 for the hive tools, tops/bottoms, and bee jackets.

    If the bees are in good shape with adequate stores, mite load under control, no foulbrood or other diseases apparent, and a good queen laying pattern, they might be worth as much as $100 and (if they survive) will give you a much larger honey crop next year than if you start with nucs or packages. If they have AFB, they are worth zero and the equipment is worth zero also. If they are healthy except for a lot of mites, they might be worth $50 if you can treat them with oxalic acid in early winter, closer to zero if you don't plan on treating.

    In short, $500 is not an unreasonable price for two good hives of bees, six extra boxes, and associated paraphernalia. If I were starting again and I got that deal from a reputable beekeeper, I would jump on it. Just be sure to take an experienced beekeeper with you to do a close inspection before you accept the offer or decide to offer a lower amount.

    Mark

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Issaquah,WA,USA
    Posts
    2,386

    Default Re: Two hives for sale - Is this a good situation/deal?

    If you take them, moving them as a brand new beek would be a nice youtube video.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Two hives for sale - Is this a good situation/deal?

    To much going into winter. I bought one from a estate last year for 25.00 with a extra set of boxes all in bad shape
    David

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Concord, CA
    Posts
    4,148

    Default Re: Two hives for sale - Is this a good situation/deal?

    Sounds to me like you're talking about 10 boxes with most of the frames drawn out. That's 100 drawn frames. As long as they are disease free that's not a bad price. The boxes are almost new, only 1 1/2 years old.
    An assembled deep with undrawn frames is about $55 in the mann lake catalog. Basically the bees, extra equipment, & a years worth of wax making are free.
    Dan

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Tsawwassen, BC, Canada
    Posts
    255

    Default Re: Two hives for sale - Is this a good situation/deal?

    I would offer him $300, take it or leave it. This is a good deal if you can get everything cheaply as you have no way of knowing how healthy the bees are, no certainty of getting them through the winter. He should be glad to get that much!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Santa Monica, CA, USA
    Posts
    1,496

    Default Re: Two hives for sale - Is this a good situation/deal?

    Well
    I got approximately the same package-deal (but older hardware) for free. I build my own medium boxes $7 ea. Bottoms and tops - salvaged plywood... frames - top bars... antique Woodman smoker and "yellow tool" was inherited from father-in-law. Biggest investment was a ventilated beesuit (gift for Christmas). Since I am foundationless, I do not need a drawn comb. For me, the deal from equipment/hardware prospective is not interested at all. What may be interesting is a bees. But I am against the mainstream as usual - it looks like bees are "survivor". They may be very well suitable for your area. I would keep them with original queen to keep "survivor" stock. But it is a different story - you could get such bees easily via your local bee-club (swarms, but-outs etc). What I would do - I would tell the "seller" that you are not interested in used equipment, which may be contaminated by disease, but you feel sorry for the bees and you are willing to offer the place to stay for the bees... and it is OK if they come with the second-hand potentially dangerous hardware... $250-300 for 2 colonies is a reasonable price. You also could try to make a deal - 50% now and 50% if bees will survive the winter... good luck! Sergey
    Серёжа, Sergey

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Washington County, Maine
    Posts
    2,903

    Default Re: Two hives for sale - Is this a good situation/deal?

    Run
    Master Beekeeper (EAS) and Master Gardener (U Maine CE) www.beeberrywoods.com

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