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Thread: startup cost???

  1. #21
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Slinger, WI
    Posts
    207

    Default Re: startup cost???

    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!
    Steve Wenger
    Gentleman farmer/9 year Bee Keeper

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    9,760

    Default Re: startup cost???

    how much will it cost to begin beekeeping?
    Less then a dime.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Bristol, Florida, USA
    Posts
    88

    Default Re: startup cost???

    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!
    Gary

  4. #24
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Garland, Bladen County, NC, USA
    Posts
    3,051

    Default Re: startup cost???

    Quote Originally Posted by BeeTax View Post
    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!
    You spent $45,000 on one hive? I must be reading something wrong...... there is more to this story - right?
    “Don’t tell me how educated you are, tell me how much you have travelled.” - The Quran

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Richardson, TX, USA
    Posts
    84

    Default Re: startup cost???

    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by chevydmax04 View Post
    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!
    Last edited by RichardsonTX; 01-26-2013 at 07:34 PM.

  6. #26

    Default Re: startup cost???

    Quote Originally Posted by hpm08161947 View Post
    You spent $45,000 on one hive? I must be reading something wrong...... there is more to this story - right?
    Maybe they're charging for their time, too.

    I remember the first time I extracted, I thought I ought to charge $100/quart. It was hot and sticky work, and I figured that was what my time was worth. Just sayin....
    Greg Whitehead, Ten Mile, TN
    Blog - http://gregsbees.blogspot.com/

  7. #27
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Vermontville, Michigan
    Posts
    101

    Default Re: startup cost???

    As you've seen, ask a group of 100 beekeepers about anything, and you'll get 100 different answers.

    The costs are incredibly variable, and you can do a lot to bring that cost down. I build all of my own boxes, bottom board, and covers (inner and outer) and it costs much less, and it really isn't very difficult if you have basic woodworking skills and tools, and that has brought my cost way down. I built a 4 frame extractor last year for around $100, and that REALLY helped to control my costs. One of the few things you can't skimp on is the cost of the bees themselves, unless you catch and hive a swarm, and as several people have pointed out, that's not the best way to go for most folks with their first hive(s).

    Last year was my first year, and I spent $300 on the bees themselves (I ordered later in the spring, so it was much more expensive), and my first bill at Dadant was around $300, and that got me through until it was time to start thinking about honey (when I made the extractor, bought honey bottling supplies, etc.) All told last year, I spent less than $1000. The part that gets the most expensive is maintaining your addiction.

    I've got two Nucs and 1 package ordered, and when I pull my lumber out of the kiln in about a month I've got 8 Langstroth Hives to build and 1 Top Bar, after which I'll have to go get frames/foundation, and some spring meds.

    To find out what your cost is going to be, I would sit down with some good resources (Idiots Guide to Beekeeping was my favorite for learning the ropes and getting a good, basic groundwork, and Michael Bush's website http://bushfarms.com/bees.htm is my favorite for an all-around website) and figure out what you think you'll need. Then price those things out online, add in the cost of bees, and add 10-20% on top for things you'll inevitably forget about, and you should have a pretty good idea of what it's going to cost you.

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    SNOW SHOE PA USA
    Posts
    1,268

    Default Re: startup cost???

    I started out with 2 hives and had 1000 dollars wraped up in it to start up now 4 years later i have enough hive ware to make 20 hives and 20 nucs/3 bee suits 1 bee jacket every bee book/2 bee yards with fence and wind breaks and the list gos on and on watch out very addicting and it can cost.
    Say hello to the bad guy!
    year five==== 31 hives==== T{OAV}

  9. #29
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Bristol, Florida, USA
    Posts
    88

    Default Re: startup cost???

    Quote Originally Posted by hpm08161947 View Post
    You spent $45,000 on one hive? I must be reading something wrong...... there is more to this story - right?
    I only wanted one hive, but got the fever. I now have 30 hives plus 100 mating nucs, an extracting and bottling house with central air/heat, a grafting room and a comb room. I started grafting into my eight starter hives this week and have orders for 600 cells in the next two weeks.
    Gary

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    SNOW SHOE PA USA
    Posts
    1,268

    Default Re: startup cost???

    Quote Originally Posted by BeeTax View Post
    I only wanted one hive, but got the fever. I now have 30 hives plus 100 mating nucs, an extracting and bottling house with central air/heat, a grafting room and a comb room. I started grafting into my eight starter hives this week and have orders for 600 cells in the next two weeks.
    Thats great your helping to keep it alive
    Say hello to the bad guy!
    year five==== 31 hives==== T{OAV}

  11. #31
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    2,924

    Default Re: startup cost???

    I'd look for an established hive. That's probably the cheapest way to go, unless you want to chase swarms. A double should cost you $150 if you can find a good deal, typically someone getting out of the business. Honestly though, if you have to consider the costs, just save up about $500-$700 and that will get you into it pretty good. Don't blame us when you're scrounging for free wood to put a few more boxes together and trying to make your own frames while trying to catch free bees every minute of your spare time cuz you gotta stick to that budget

  12. #32

    Default Re: startup cost???

    Watch out for specials and deals. Many suppliers run free shipping during certain times of the year, and I think most items on Mann Lake are free shipping for orders over $100. I'm sure there are other deals to be had. But some of my favorite words are "Free Shipping".
    Greg Whitehead, Ten Mile, TN
    Blog - http://gregsbees.blogspot.com/

  13. #33
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Citrus County, Florida, United States
    Posts
    260

    Default Re: startup cost???

    Two colonies: EXACTLY $350.

  14. #34
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Hartford, CT
    Posts
    607

    Default Re: startup cost???

    Add in SHB Small Hive Beetle traps too and KNOW THIS PEST WELL !!! It will be in your hives at some point and can wreck them too. However with knowledge you'll have the upper hand.

  15. #35
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Issaquah,WA,USA
    Posts
    2,394

    Default Re: startup cost???

    If you want to have a million dollars in the Bee business start with 2 million.

  16. #36
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Santa Monica, CA, USA
    Posts
    1,515

    Default Re: startup cost???

    To all above, add
    1) Maintaining cost
    painting every 3? years etc.
    sugar for wintering
    chemicals for treatment
    2) equipment if you plan to make own hardware, saw, dado blade etc.
    3) your labor, which is not free!
    4) Moving expenses, gas etc.
    5) Remodeling (kitchen to accommodate bee-business?, new beehaus?)
    6) Construction expenses - new bee-facilities, fences etc.

    Sergey
    Серёжа, Sergey

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