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