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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Menominee County, MI
    Posts
    4

    Default buying an established colony

    I recently decided that I'd like to try my hand at beekeeping this summer. I contacted an individual from craigslist that was advertising 5 frame nucs for $90. When I spoke to him and asked whether he knew anyone that might have used hives for sale, he told me he could sell me established colonies for $200 each. He's bringing them up from FL to Northern WI at the end of April to early May.

    Each colony includes:
    2013 Italian queen
    two deeps
    two medium supers
    bottom board
    cover

    What are some variables that I should be aware of when inspecting these colonies? Thanks in advance for your shared knowledge.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Dallas, TX
    Posts
    374

    Default Re: buying an established colony

    One variable is whether they are stolen or not. My thinking is that is a very low price.

    I think in general you want to know how healthy the hive is. I can't explain in one post what it means to have a healthy hive. You will need to do some reading.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Weeki Wachee, Florida,USA
    Posts
    1,822

    Default Re: buying an established colony

    That seems like a very good deal.

    As I new beekeeper I would focus on buying bees from a reputable beekeeper. You may not know what to look for so you need a trustworthy source.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Danbury, CT
    Posts
    2,861

    Default Re: buying an established colony

    My primary concern would be that you would be introducing Small Hive Beatles to your area. Any hive coming up from the south is bound to have SHB present and they could completely ruin your first season as a new bee.

    Secondly I would be concerned that for $200.00 you are getting old half rotted equipment.
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    3,507

    Default Re: buying an established colony

    What you are getting is two used deeps worth about six bucks apiece, frames that may or may not be serviceable and can be replaced for under forty bucks. My migratory covers and bottom boards cost maybe ten bucks to make. SO that is sixty or seventy bucks worth of equipment fair market value. If you have eight or 9 frames of brood the deal is a winner for you. Hopefully you can recognize foulbrood and the poor brood pattern of a failing hive or queen. If it looks good it is. Problem with tying into the deal is what do you do for bees if the deal is a stinker. The thought of no bees might cause you to buy into something you shouldn't. Maybe you could get one double and one nuc and see which is best for next year.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Sparta, Tennessee
    Posts
    2,122

    Default Re: buying an established colony

    Quote Originally Posted by bluegrass View Post
    My primary concern would be that you would be introducing Small Hive Beatles..."

    Secondly I would be concerned that for $200.00 you are getting old half rotted equipment.
    I agree with the $200 bucks being low. I would hold payment until I saw the hives and bees and looked at what I got. I would have an experienced beekeep look in the hives when they arrive. As for small hive beetles, I deal with them here all the time as as long as the hives remain healthy they seem to be able to keep the hive beetles in check. Maybe I have just been lucky.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Menominee County, MI
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: buying an established colony

    I'll look up foulbrood and poor brood patterns. I'll also look up small hive beetles. Thanks for the tips.

    Payment is due upon delivery so I'll have an opportunity to check everything out before I buy them. I suppose I'll just have to trust that they're not stolen.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Pineville, Louisiana, USA
    Posts
    76

    Default Re: buying an established colony

    Who's the source? Maybe someone here has already dealt with them and can shed some light.

    Found a couple links
    http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...bees+Wisconsin

    This is an older one
    http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...es-Southern-WI

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Menominee County, MI
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: buying an established colony

    His name is Vince from Green Bay, WI.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Long Beach, Ca
    Posts
    66

    Default Re: buying an established colony

    I have caught my first two swarms that are now hives. It isn't the fastest way to do things but it was sure fun.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Dallas, TX
    Posts
    374

    Default Re: buying an established colony

    If no SHB were a prerequisite to buying bees in Texas, no one would have any bees to buy. My hives all have SHB. But they are healthy and fine.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    New Castle, Indiana USA
    Posts
    12

    Default Re: buying an established colony

    If you want to buy an established hive, why not get with some beekeepers from Michigan. There are a lot of great beekeepers up there that would probably sell you something. Worth a try. Get some bees that are used to the area. Try michiganbeekeepers.com

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Menominee County, MI
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: buying an established colony

    I'm in the central and southern most portion of the Upper Peninsula, so I'm closer to Green Bay, WI. There's a club in Marquette, but that's more than twice as far from me as Green Bay.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Kingsport, Sullivan, Tennessee
    Posts
    788

    Default Re: buying an established colony

    "...5 frame nucs for $90..."

    I'd be tempted to take a look at these. Are they put-together nucs (a package with a queen and some used frames) or an established nuc? If an established nuc, that is a good price. You could move them into new 10-frame equipment (and not have to worry about what diseases may be present) and let them make new comb on the additional frames. Plus, you'll have a nuc box handy that you will surely be able to use before too long. -js

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