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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Liberty, Ms.
    Posts
    139

    Default To Buy or Not To Buy

    I am in South Mississippi. Our winters are usually mild. I found a guy that is selling hives for $250 they are 3 deeps. I am wondering if it is Ok to buy hives this time of the year or would it be better to wait till spring time. What questions should I ask before I make a decision to buy? Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Reno, NV
    Posts
    3,178

    Default Re: To Buy or Not To Buy

    You are buying all the risk. a 3 seep hive could be empty come spring. I bought a 5 frame nuc last spring for $100. no hive and frames mind you, and it was a two deep hive in 3 weeks. I made the boxes from scrap lumber but bought the frames and foundation for an additional $70 or so. So $250 would not be real appealing to me.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Slidell, LA, USA
    Posts
    259

    Default Re: To Buy or Not To Buy

    Yea, I sure would let him overwinter them. Do you already have drawn comb that can be reused to jump start a nuc in the spring? Or are you starting from scratch? I know a friend of mine bought 2 deep hives in the spring and he was much further ahead then I was starting with nucs.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Greensboro, North Carolina
    Posts
    2,864

    Default Re: To Buy or Not To Buy

    I don't think a 3 deep hive for $250 this time of year is necessarily out of line, price wise. An average price for a single in my area, this time of year, is about $150, with a double being about $200.

    I would not pay that, mind you. I purchased 7 colonies in August that were a deep and a medium each for a total of $600. That was the most I was willing to pay. That amounts to about $85 per colony. I'd be willing to go up to $100 for a double. But that's just me. You take alot of risk with purchasing a colony in the fall (or winter).

    I come to my calculation this way. I can get a single in late winter, early spring for $150-190. If you bought the same hive in the winter, and had a 30% average overwintering loss, you should pay $105-133 for the same colony today in order to get the same thing that you would have purchased in the spring. Then you have to figure in that you might need to feed in early spring (usually $5-10) and you might need some type of treatment (usually ~$5), so that brings our price down to $90-123. Then you have to figure there should be some type of discounted price, because you bear the risk in getting it through the winter, woodenware breaking, diseases being introduced, queen failing, ect. So to me that single colony is worth $85-115 in the late fall, early winter. For me, if I find one for sale around the $85 or less mark, I'll buy. More than that and I'll wait till spring. It costs you the same in the end.

    But that's my calculation. Yours may differ.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Montgomery County, NY
    Posts
    1,997

    Default Re: To Buy or Not To Buy

    Do your homework before you buy them from him this time of year.
    Is the 3rd one full of honey?
    How much brood is present?
    Do a mite roll on them.
    Maybe take some forager samples and send them out to beltsville for Nosema check.
    Do a thorough check for AFB and EFB.
    What condition is the woodware?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Santa Rosa County, Florida
    Posts
    423

    Default Re: To Buy or Not To Buy

    Assuming everything is in good shape and the top box is full of honey,then the price is right.Given your location,you could even take off some honey.Two boxes is more than enough to winter in Mississippi.Leave one box of brood and one box of honey for them to winter on.Treat for mites.
    You will have maple and willow blooming in January.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Posts
    1,752

    Default Re: To Buy or Not To Buy

    BMAC has some good advice. If everything looks good it could turn out to be a good deal. I bought my first hives in January I was making splits by March. So if those hives make it through winter you should be able to split them come spring and make some honey your first year. I would offer him $200 and take it from there. Don't think I would spend $250 for hives this time of year.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    3,048

    Default Re: To Buy or Not To Buy

    It's not a bad price if the queen is a 2012 queen and the equipment is fairly new. Buying singles in spring will probably average $150. If you wanted to buy 2 boxes with frames and foundation that would cost you say, $15 for each box, $25 in frames, and $30 in foundation. That puts you at $220, and you have to paint them and put them together still and that assumes you're picking it up and not paying any shipping. Around here, a double will run you about $200 now, more in spring.

    If the bees are in good shape, frames spaced right and easily maneageable and they have a lot of stores I would say it's a fair deal, I wouldn't call it a good deal but they sound like strong bees if they're in 3 deeps now. I only say it's not a good deal because he's not giving you any breaks on the price, he's askiing what I would consider market value. It is a good deal since the hive will not need much work next year in terms of buying and putting together equipment for it and you have 3 boxes of drawn frames if they're in good shape anyways.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Spokane, Washington, USA
    Posts
    780

    Default Re: To Buy or Not To Buy

    Quote Originally Posted by djdup View Post
    I am in South Mississippi. Our winters are usually mild. I found a guy that is selling hives for $250 they are 3 deeps. I am wondering if it is Ok to buy hives this time of the year or would it be better to wait till spring time. What questions should I ask before I make a decision to buy? Thanks.
    Yes you could buy now but it is a risk. make sure to bargain down to $175 because its winter. Ask if there was a mite treatment done. Look to see if brood is healthy.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Weeki Wachee, Florida,USA
    Posts
    2,066

    Default Re: To Buy or Not To Buy

    Another way to look at it.
    At the first sign of spring as soon as mated queens are availible you could split into three hives.
    There are a few ifs and maybes , but if it's a strong hive it wouldn't be impossible to have three hives ready for the flow.

    Just my inexperienced perspective.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Liberty, Ms.
    Posts
    139

    Default Re: To Buy or Not To Buy

    Thanks to everyone for the input. I'm not sure what I will do yet. I call and asked if he was treatment free and he said yes, then he said, except for the strip in put in for the hive beetles. So I'm kinda leery now.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Heron Lake, Minnesota, USA
    Posts
    16

    Default Re: To Buy or Not To Buy

    Mbeck set up a good plan. Nothing is for sure, but with a favorable winter and spring, you could be off and running.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Spokane, Washington, USA
    Posts
    780

    Default Re: To Buy or Not To Buy

    I would stay away from buying a treatment free hive because #1 you don't know if the hive is hygienic #2 treatment free almost guarantees you that your hive will die. If the seller is a reputable beekeeper who has a good survivor stock then you should buy without hesitation. however I would guess that the seller most likely bought packages in the spring and now the hives are 2-3 deeps...and he say's they are treatment free? Sounds like a joke.

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