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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
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    West St. Paul, MN, USA
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    68

    Default Buying Used Brood/Hive Boxes - Is it worth it?

    Hey everyone! Looks like I have the opportunity from 2 different sources to possibly purchase some used hive boxes in the next few days. One is at an auction, and another is through Craigslist.

    1) - I have not seen any of the boxes, so ultimately if they look like they are in rough shape I will not be buying them. But if they look half way decent, the price seems alright.
    2) - I know you run a risk of getting contaminated boxes when they are purchased used. I just sent an email to the Craigslist ad to see if I could get some info on them. How old, any chemical treatments, any disease problems with the previous occupants, and why they are selling? The auction is "sold as is" so no way of knowing.
    3) - So what is worse - boxes that were exposed to unknown chemical treatments, or possible bee diseases?
    4) - If "yes", to either scenarios in question 3, are there any good ways of "cleaning" up old boxes? I talked with Wildforager on the phone last night, and he has used vodka soaked socks to kill possible wax moth/larvae in boxes that were infected ( Hey WF - could you tell us all what exactly you did!) Any other thoughts on decontaminating/sanitizing boxes?

    The price is right on at least some of these, and I really would like to get some extra boxes before next spring. I plan on adding a few more hives, and I also want to be ready to catch swarms and possible bee removals. I have also been planning on making new boxes, but have a lot of home repair/remodeling projects this winter, so if this could save me a bit of time that would be great. Looking forward to what ya' all have to say!!
    www.autonomyacres.com Discussions on Urban Homesteading

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Rockford, MN, USA
    Posts
    42

    Default Re: Buying Used Brood/Hive Boxes - Is it worth it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Autonomy Acres View Post
    Hey everyone! Looks like I have the opportunity from 2 different sources to possibly purchase some used hive boxes in the next few days. One is at an auction, and another is through Craigslist.
    The guy on Craigslist selling boxes with frames but no foundation? I saw that one, too.

    I'm wary of buying anything used, especially if you don't know the history. If the guy selling them can tell you, then you might have some idea. My experience with auction stuff is that no one has a clue. I would be really wary of mixing unknown boxes with any existing hives, given the remote chance of a foulbrood issue.

    If, however, you do get them - you'll want to scorch the insides with a propane torch to kill any spores. I buy new - usually just wait for the sales, or I pick boxes up in SD from hivebodies.com in Hazel. They're about 30 minutes from my parents. Their boxes are excellent, and the price is pretty good.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Pensacola, FL
    Posts
    140

    Default Re: Buying Used Brood/Hive Boxes - Is it worth it?

    In my opinion, new woodenware is so cheap that it's not worth taking the risk. But that's just me...

    Brian
    Hobby Beekeeper - Second Year - Two Hives

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    West St. Paul, MN, USA
    Posts
    68

    Default Re: Buying Used Brood/Hive Boxes - Is it worth it?

    So I got an email back from the Craigslist guy.
    These boxes are the 9 5/8 inch brood boxes. Each one comes with 9 frames from which I have removed broken, dry or malformed comb, so one will need to add foundation wax. Over the past 25 years I have treated the bees with terramycin as recommended by the University of MN. As with most if not all beekeepers I have occasionally had a bout with American foulbrood. Scorching the surface of the equipment with a torch would be a way to prevent any possible contamination.
    He answered most of my questions, so I think I know what I am dealing with. Comparing prices with the Mann Lake catalog, if these boxes are in decent physical shape, the savings is pretty good. Any negative effects of terramycin? I have never used it, so am not familiar with its side effects etc... If I scorch the boxes with a propane torch, do you do anything after that to help protect the wood? Paint the interior? I am not going to decide tonight, so keep coming with ideas, suggestions, etc..... Thanks!
    www.autonomyacres.com Discussions on Urban Homesteading

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Atlanta, Ga
    Posts
    108

    Default Re: Buying Used Brood/Hive Boxes - Is it worth it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Autonomy Acres View Post
    So I got an email back from the Craigslist guy.
    He answered most of my questions, so I think I know what I am dealing with. Comparing prices with the Mann Lake catalog, if these boxes are in decent physical shape, the savings is pretty good. Any negative effects of terramycin? I have never used it, so am not familiar with its side effects etc... If I scorch the boxes with a propane torch, do you do anything after that to help protect the wood? Paint the interior? I am not going to decide tonight, so keep coming with ideas, suggestions, etc..... Thanks!

    I'm definitely no expert, but personally, I would run just from him mentioning that he has had occasional problems with Foulbrood. Its not worth the risk.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    JACKSON OHIO
    Posts
    485

    Default Re: Buying Used Brood/Hive Boxes - Is it worth it?

    stay away foulbrood is not good never had it dont want it

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Athens, OH
    Posts
    2,652

    Default Re: Buying Used Brood/Hive Boxes - Is it worth it?

    Boxes are the least expensive equipment you will need. Buy new.
    Politics is the entertainment branch of industry. -Frank Zappa

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    26,250

    Default Re: Buying Used Brood/Hive Boxes - Is it worth it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Benthic View Post
    In my opinion, new woodenware is so cheap that it's not worth taking the risk. But that's just me...

    Brian
    That's right Brian. Also, there is noi such thing as a free cat.

    How cheap are these boxes anyway? Worth the potential risk of AFB exposure? If they were less than $5.00/box for deeps and less than $3.00/box for shallows or mediums I might consider them worth the risk, but new boxes are 100% disease free for sure. So, weigh the risk and make your descision accordingly.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Nowthen,Minnesota, USA
    Posts
    183

    Default Re: Buying Used Brood/Hive Boxes - Is it worth it?

    I spend my summers scrounging for used equipment. I won't pay more than $5.00/box, $10.00/Telescoping Cover, $1.00/Inner Cover or $5.00/Bottom Board. If new frames/foundation are included, I'll toss in a buck for each frame. Any used frames that come along with the deal are tossed on the burn pile - regardless of how disease-free the seller claims them to be. Everything else sits on the driveway (much to my wife's consternation) until I can scrape and scorch it. They get a fresh coat of paint and a brand. Only then are they allowed into the barn with my other equipment.
    -Phil Domeier
    www.nowthenhoney.com

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Menomonee Falls, Wis.
    Posts
    2,623

    Default Re: Buying Used Brood/Hive Boxes - Is it worth it?

    Like SQKCRK's thinking?, "not worth the risk". even free.

    Crazy Roland

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    West St. Paul, MN, USA
    Posts
    68

    Default Re: Buying Used Brood/Hive Boxes - Is it worth it?

    Well, I tried bargaining with the CLs guy. I told him if he brought the price down to $5 a box, I would buy 20. He responded with $10/box. I am heeding all of your guys advice, and at this point I am not going to risk it - I have never had foul brood, and hope to never get it. As a side note - I also called the auction company today to find out how the bee equipment was going to be sold, small/big lots etc... To make a long story short, the dude was very rude and not helpful. I ended up not going and do not feel to bad about it. After the brief discussion here, I guess it is not worth dealing with other people's problems as far as disease goes when you can build or buy new and guarantee disease free equipment.... Thanks
    www.autonomyacres.com Discussions on Urban Homesteading

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Nowthen,Minnesota, USA
    Posts
    183

    Default Re: Buying Used Brood/Hive Boxes - Is it worth it?

    Autonomy Acres, Was that the auction up in Pine City? If so, I spoke to the fella selling his stuff. He had only 8 or 9 boxes.
    -Phil Domeier
    www.nowthenhoney.com

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Chesterfield, NH
    Posts
    480

    Default Re: Buying Used Brood/Hive Boxes - Is it worth it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Autonomy Acres View Post
    Well, I tried bargaining with the CLs guy. I told him if he brought the price down to $5 a box, I would buy 20. He responded with $10/box. I am heeding all of your guys advice, and at this point I am not going to risk it - I have never had foul brood, and hope to never get it. As a side note - I also called the auction company today to find out how the bee equipment was going to be sold, small/big lots etc... To make a long story short, the dude was very rude and not helpful. I ended up not going and do not feel to bad about it. After the brief discussion here, I guess it is not worth dealing with other people's problems as far as disease goes when you can build or buy new and guarantee disease free equipment.... Thanks
    I can buy new boxes 10 Frame Deep at my door for $11.25 if I pick-up $8.75


    BEE HAPPY Jim 134
    Franklin County Beekeepers Association MA.
    http://www.franklinmabeekeepers.org/

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Lincolnton, NC
    Posts
    1,099

    Default Re: Buying Used Brood/Hive Boxes - Is it worth it?

    I traded a double deep with bees for about 15 of each: deeps, shallows, bottom boards, IC's and outer covers. I threw away all frames and scorched everything else. Most of it was off sized and needed to be added to or cut down in some way to fit my equipment, then scraped & painted. It wasn't worth the trouble. I won't do it again unless it's newer and is an exact fit with what I already have and I could be very confident that there was never any foulbrood.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Cheyenne, Wyoming, USA
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    1,693

    Default Re: Buying Used Brood/Hive Boxes - Is it worth it?

    Quote Originally Posted by bosco500 View Post
    I'm definitely no expert, but personally, I would run just from him mentioning that he has had occasional problems with Foulbrood. Its not worth the risk.
    Preach it! Same here!

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Norfolk, VA
    Posts
    166

    Default Re: Buying Used Brood/Hive Boxes - Is it worth it?

    Why invite problems. There is enough to worry about without dealing with old stuff that has an unknown background. If your in this to save money get another hobby/profession.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    SNOW SHOE PA USA
    Posts
    1,198

    Default Re: Buying Used Brood/Hive Boxes - Is it worth it?

    Quote Originally Posted by bbrowncods View Post
    Why invite problems. There is enough to worry about without dealing with old stuff that has an unknown background. If your in this to save money get another hobby/profession.
    Ain't that the truth?
    Say hello to the bad guy!
    year five==== 31 hives==== T{OAV}

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    West St. Paul, MN, USA
    Posts
    68

    Default Re: Buying Used Brood/Hive Boxes - Is it worth it?

    Hey ya' all - Thanks for all the responses thus far. I am NOT buying the used boxes from the CLs guy! It is funny how the universe works sometimes. Yesterday I found out an old friend of mines' dad was looking for me. He came across this thread here on BeeSource, and clicked on my blog link, realized he knew me, and got a hold of me through a mutual friend. Lo and behold, Big John (my friends dad) is a commercial bee keeper based here in the Twin Cities, and just happens to have some extra, never used boxes that he is willing to sell to me for a great price! How cool is that!

    I appreciate how so many of the comments have been consistent as to not buying used boxes. I do not want to introduce any pathogens into my small bee yard and that is why I asked the question in the first place. As to saving money, I am all about it! I realize that keeping bees, especially getting started is not cheap, but I do believe it is possible to for a small scale operation to eventually keep those costs down - that is my goal! I will be buying some boxes from my friend, and still plan on making my own at some point. Also, learning how to split colonies is on my priority list - increase my bee population and save money!!
    www.autonomyacres.com Discussions on Urban Homesteading

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