I am new to beekeeping. how much will it cost to begin beekeeping?
I am new to beekeeping. how much will it cost to begin beekeeping?
Welcome to Beesource!
Depends ..... How many hives did you have in mind? Are you in a position to build some/all woodenware? How do you plan to acquire bees? TBH or Lang style hives?
If you can catch a swarm, and build your own hives, you might need to buy as little as a smoker and a veil. That can be done for about $50 or less. But, that is not typical. If you are buying bees and Lang equipment, the minimum I would expect is about $300. Note that your chances of success are much improved if you start with at least two hives.
USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft
We have 5 seasons behind us now. Last year we added 5 more hives. We bought everything new for those hives, including 4 pound packages of bees. We had over $3,000 into those 5 hives. The cost of woodenware, and frames has doubled in 5 years. When we sold out of honey last fall we had recovered one dollar for every 3 dollars spent. Startup is very expensive.
Much depends on how your start. We always encourage new beekeepers to start with 2 or more hives but not much more. Having hives to compare and for resources if one hive has an issue, and it will, is a great help. One of the big investments I think new beekeepers fail to make is in education. A good beginners beekeeping course will be money well spent if it is a good course. Are you going to extract honey or maybe run your hives for comb. Richard Taylor, author/beekeeper running comb honey always said the only harvesting equipment he needed was a pocket knife. Extracting equipment is expensive but necessary if you plan to harvest liquid honey. We figure with the cost of deeps, frames, supers (3 per hive is a good start), bees, protective wear, and smoker if you set aside around $400 per hive as an estimate for the 1st and a little less for the 2nd and additional (you'll only need one smoker, one suit, one hive tool) you'd be pretty close. You can set up a small extracting operation for another $500 - $600.00. Keep in mind you should think about the initial cost as an investment over a period of years, kind of like amortization, because well painted and well maintained equipment will last for years and the honey and enjoyment factor will be will be peace of mind now and memories for generations to come.
Good Luck and welcome to the experiance!
My thread on costs includes everything we spent on those 5 hives over the year. If you just consider the basic equipement plus bees you are looking at about 2/3 of the actual cost. We have to put fence around our hives, and it takes a 2"X4" wire to stop the skunks. Even blocks to put the hives on are expensive. Too often people starting a new hobby look at the basic costs, plan for that cost, and then get in over their heads because the actual costs are much higher. I am not trying to discourage you, beekeeping is fun, but it does take a commitment of time and money.
When applying for a beekeeping mortgage, remember to include everything you might need this year and next......lol j/k
I started last year with 2 nucleus colonies: $250.00
Two 8 or 10 frame complete hives (2 deeps, 2 mediums, SBB, inner cover, telescoping outer cover, frames and foundation -$300.00
Full bee suit $150.00
Bee brush and hive tool $20.00
You'll still want some odds and ends like a tool box, benedryl, etc......but that is up to you.
Last edited by Eddie Honey; 01-26-2013 at 08:16 AM.
I wonder how she/he got registered w/out a state listed under Location?
"Most of my exercise comes from wrestling with pigs and beating dead horses."
If you ask my wife, its not expensive at all! If you ask me, it can get pretty costly!!
When UPS shows up im like a kid waiting to intercept a bad report card from the mail man!!
You can learn to make some things, and learn that its cheaper/easier to buy some things. I buy frames by the hundred. I buy the boxes (except for nucs, I buy the plywood and make them myself) and I make my hive pallets and tops.
Be keeping can be as cheap as you want it, or as extravagant as you want, the choice is yours!!
Coyote Creek Bees
Beginner kit is about $300 which will have complete wooden hive with frames, hive tool, smoker and a veil. A package of bees is around $100. So you could start a hive for about $400. It is good to have at least 2 hives. The second hive may cost a little less.
I am restarting after about 7 years away. I have a veil, a smoker, a brush, and a hive tool already. I have a box of 50 frames (new price about $42 + shipping) and a box of 50 foundation (new price also about $40 plus shipping) on hand already from my last hives.
I am making all new woodenware. One deep box will cost me $10 for lumber (one 1 x 12 x 6 from the local lumber mill). I need about 15 boxes for my first year. I also need tops (est. cost $14 a piece), inner covers (est. cost $4 a piece) and screened bottom boards. Finding the screening for this was fun, since I have to buy it online--10 ft (shipped) will cost $26, plus 1 x 4 and 2 pcs. of 2 x 2 plywood, which should come to another $16. I like double hive stands and it takes 3 pcs. of 2 x 4 x 8's to make one of those, but I happen to have a bunch of those on hand.
I hate to think what it would cost if I had to buy all this and have it shipped here.
I will need 2 packages of bees @ $95 each (I can pick them up myself and save about $50+ per package on shipping costs). I will likely want to requeen those packages because I want resistant bees and can only find Italian packages, to the tune of $20 a piece for queens + $20 shipping.
Now I haven't added this all up. I'm afraid to. I might get cold feet. And I can think of a bunch of other stuff that I haven't listed, like Tanglefoot for the stand legs to keep the ants away, Beetle Blasters to trap the SHBs, feeders, and stuff like that.
All of this just to keep a bunch of bugs in a box! No wonder my family is convinced I'm crazy!
Last edited by Rusty Hills Farm; 01-26-2013 at 11:30 AM.
hernando county. hour south of ocala.
Hello new BeeSource poster. So, is "Brooksville" in Florida? I am in Tucson, Arizona and have no idea which state Hernando county is in. I have heard of an Ocala, in Florida, but apparently it is in Marion county.
This is a forum with international membership, so it is better to give us more details, than less -- helps to get an idea where posts are coming from.
Startup cost can vary a great deal. Depends on where you're at (location), availability of free swarms or cutouts, how adept you are at woodworking (how well your wood shop is equipped and stocked), how experienced you are with honey bees, what size you wish to start at, what size you plan to grow to, etc.
There are a huge variety of variables that all interrelate to both startup and operating costs. So really, there is no simple answer to your question.
48 years - 50 hives - TF
Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni
Olivia. The cost to buy wooden is a little more than building your own. By the time you factor time, fuel, and effort I think it is cheaper to buy it all precut and just assemble. There are a few things that I do build because I have customized them to meet my needs and desires. I build the Screened bottom boards, ventilated inner covers and I make the tops. I make some fancy top covers, that have copper shingle roofs and trim. As for me I have 5 hives, gonna add five more this spring, been in it for 8-9 years now I think. I do it just for the fun and enjoyment I get out of it. My 3 y/o grand daughter is hooked on bees and honey and loves to help me work the bee's. That in itself offsets any costs I may incur.
Have fun with your new bee's!
Gentleman farmer/9 year Bee Keeper
Olivia, I agree with Chevy.
Another reason to buy your woodenware at first is to actually see how it should be made if you do decide to make it own your own (which eventually you will if you like wood working at all and it just stays a hobby for you).
My hives consist of three "deeps" (2 for the brood box and 1 for my super), a bottom board, migratory lid (best way to go if you decide to haul them around at all), 28 frames with foundation (10 in bottom brood box, 8 in top brood box along with division board feeder (yes you have to feed them sometimes), and 10 frames in my super), division board feeder, queen excluder (called honey excluder by others), nylon ratchet strap, nails, wire for frames, staples for brood box to bottom board, primer paint, white exterior grade paint, a heavy brick, entrance reducer, hive beetle trap, and a 2x4x8' piece of lumber cut up into four pieces to use for a stand. My recommendation is to use all deeps when starting so that your equipment is interchangeable as you grow at first. Deeps for supers aren't hard to handle if you just use a nuc box to pull out your frames and carry them around when harvesting. I mostly carry the full box (about 90 lbs) but I'm not a small person either. You will also want a complete nuc box with frames and division board feeder for nucs you'll make up in late summer before the fall flow. Or, you can use modified deeps that will serve as two nucs. You'll need one of these for each "working" hive. Making up nucs provides replacement hives that die out over the winter, gets rid of your worst performing hives, and provides frames to boost existing hives with. My favorite part is that it serves as a cheap seat, toolbox, and storage box (when bees aren't in it of course).
You'll need your bees. Don't buy a package. Buy a nuc with durable box instead and buy a queen cell or mated queen. Then, use that to make up your second hive with. This gives you your bees and your nuc box. Its also safer to start with nucs instead of package bees. Don't even mess with swarms unless its early in the spring. If you do mess with swarms just don't rely on them as a way to get your initial bees for your hives.
You'll also need a dolly with wheels on it that you air up. A dolly with small hard wheels will get stuck in the dirt.
You'll also want an Oxalic Acid Vaporizer and associated equipment. Trusting your hives to "naturally" evade varroa mites and other pests is asking for trouble or at least asking for yourself to keep buying bees to replace the dead ones.
For personal equipment you need a veil, bee hard hat that your veil fits on, leather bee gloves, white coveralls (when needed), and leg straps (unless you don't mind bees getting all the way up your pants before you find out they are there). You also need a hive tool, bee brush, and a good smoker.
You also need a book called, The Hive and The Honey, watch a lot of YouTube, and talk to people in the chat room on Beesource.com.
Attending the local bee club is a good idea also since you can buy your nucs from someone there who sells bees and you can get really good advice about all sorts of things you are going to have to learn.
Here's the expensive part..............You'll need an extractor, strainer, uncapping knife, capping scratcher, buckets to put honey and wax into, honey jars, labels, and a way to store your supers safe from wax moths. If you have over 20 hives then get an electric radial extractor. If you have less than that and don't plan on getting larger then use a hand cranked radial extractor. You can also network in a bee club and share costs that way for the extracting part.
Other costs will be sugar, soy flour, brewers yeast, wax paper, and other such things to feed the bees with.
Add a bunch of money to the shopping list you create with this info and you should be part of the way to the actual number it will cost you.
Last edited by RichardsonTX; 01-26-2013 at 07:34 PM.
Less then a dime.how much will it cost to begin beekeeping?
Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping
I started back beekeeping a year and a half ago, and wanted 1 hive . So far have spent about $45k give or take a few k. And I build a lot of my own equipment and raise my own queens. Glad I didn't want two!
Greg Whitehead, Ten Mile, TN
Blog - http://gregsbees.blogspot.com/