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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Floyd County Kentucky
    Posts
    49

    Default foundation prices and question about increasing hive counts

    It appears that I can purchase 4 hive increase kits with two deeps and two supers for about $100 and some dollars more than building my own hives and buying the foundation. The biggest expense is the foundation/frames and that surprises me. What would everyone else on this forum do in my situation? Also I have 4 10 frame hives, but ordering from better bee 8 frame hives would be around 20$ cheaper per hive. have not compared man lake ltd yet. I just need some advice because I am ordering soon.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Boonville Missouri USA
    Posts
    30

    Default Re: foundation prices and question about increasing hive counts

    If you are handy with tools, you could build your own frames and put them every other one between the drawn comb you have. The bees should make their own comb without foundation.

    Dave the Fire Guy

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Charles City, VA
    Posts
    77

    Default Re: foundation prices and question about increasing hive counts

    I order budget hives, supers, frames, and foundation from Mann Lake when they have them on sale. Buy the bulk quantities as it never goes bad. Bottom boards, inner covers and telescoping covers I make.

    If you have issues with anything from Mann Lake, call them. They ship for free on orders over $100

    Bee boxes can be cheaper to make but in my opinion if I mess up one or two of them then I'm not saving any money, so I buy them and just assemble them in front of the tv.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Hamilton, Alabama
    Posts
    1,189

    Default Re: foundation prices and question about increasing hive counts

    It is best to have only one size of equipment so if you have 10 frame now, don't switch to 8 frame. It is frustrating to need a piece of equipment and have the wrong size.
    DarJones - 44 years, 10 colonies (max 40), sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 11 frame broodnest, small cell

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Floyd County Kentucky
    Posts
    49

    Default Re: foundation prices and question about increasing hive counts

    Quote Originally Posted by Fusion_power View Post
    It is best to have only one size of equipment so if you have 10 frame now, don't switch to 8 frame. It is frustrating to need a piece of equipment and have the wrong size.
    Thanks for the advice. I will stick with 10 frame then. I am going to look into the budget hives from man lake. I just feel like if the price difference is so small it would be more convienent for me to buy the new equipment rather than making it. I like the idea though of having no foundation every other frame with drawn comb in-between.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Hamilton, Alabama
    Posts
    1,189

    Default Re: foundation prices and question about increasing hive counts

    Western Bee Supply is $11.45 per deep. Check them though, shipping can add up.
    DarJones - 44 years, 10 colonies (max 40), sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 11 frame broodnest, small cell

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Floyd County Kentucky
    Posts
    49

    Default Re: foundation prices and question about increasing hive counts

    Do you think plastic frames are a better investment or wood frames with or without foundation

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Louisville, KY
    Posts
    1,117

    Default Re: foundation prices and question about increasing hive counts

    The cheapest alternative by far is to build a top bar, no foundation or frame costs, just some scrap lumber sawn and screwed together. The poor mans hive. I don't like them very much though.

    I can make a 10-frame deep for $3.60 with grade 2 lumber from lumber 84 down the street. There are some knots and what not, but the lumber is overall very nice if you pick thru the stock. Foundation + wood frame runs about $1.90/per when bought in 100's. The bottom board, inner cover and outer cover can also be made very cheaply. The crappy part is painting, takes the longest, and sucks, but is a must if you want the wood to last exposed to the elements. I really need to get a sprayer.

    If you want to run langs at the cheapest possible, run all deeps. Although foundationless deeps may be a problem come extraction time, I don't know since I only have ran foundationless in shallows/mediums for cut comb.

    I wouldn't try to make my own frames, assembling them is a pain in the butt as is.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Plymouth County, MA, USA
    Posts
    110

    Default Re: foundation prices and question about increasing hive counts

    I'm a new beekeeper, but my limited experience and understanding is that wooden frames with plastic foundation is the best for brood. The wooden frame holds up well over time, and you can scrape off the wax after x number of years when you might otherwise replace it and reuse the frame.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Bardstown, KY
    Posts
    28

    Default Re: foundation prices and question about increasing hive counts

    Justin, do you belong to a club? If you only want a few boxes you can go in with other people in your club etc to get the bulk rate. I steer clear of budget or commercial grade stuff after some junk I bought that should have been firewood. It's worth a few extra $'s to get something that's going to last. Our club is also looking into having a local wood shop make some hive bodies in bulk, something like that might be another option?

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Bedford, Indiana
    Posts
    43

    Default Re: foundation prices and question about increasing hive counts

    Personally I would get all of my woodenware the same size. Don't waste your time or money painting them. Run foundationless the bees will build the comb quicker in my experience if you just give them a guide like a popsicle stick or use the wedge if that is the style of frame you get. When I do buy my boxes I get the commercial or budget grade from Mann Lake. Like others have said the free shipping on a $100 dollar order can save you quite a bit of money. I have never experienced a problem with them either. I do not paint them; they are going on 3 years now and look fine. I build my SBB and pallets I sit them on with native lumber I pick up from a local sawmill. You can save yourself a ton of time and money by not painting and putting the foundation in. It might be an eye soar but the bees could care less what the boxes look like.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Reno, NV
    Posts
    2,606

    Default Re: foundation prices and question about increasing hive counts

    Just a few boxes kills a lot of the benefit of making your own. Most of your time is spent setting up equipment for the next cut. Having said that I will also say I have done it for just a small amount of equipment. my latest run has been over 800 frames and a total of 80 some boxes some boxes. since a single cut on a frame can take what time I have over the course of several days the set up time becomes insignificant.

    This changes the worth it factor by quite a bit. The hard part then become getting the time day after day to get the job done. I also seems to have developed a glitch recently in being able to accurate calculate the materials needed.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Morgan ,Kentucky, USA
    Posts
    154

    Default Re: foundation prices and question about increasing hive counts

    I would also price out from dadant in frankfort and honey and bee connection in morehead.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Bloomfield,KY
    Posts
    265

    Default Re: foundation prices and question about increasing hive counts

    I buy commercial grade equipment from both Dadant and Kelley since I am 45 minutes from both. I prefer Kelley since it is a locally owned manufacturer but Dadant has cheaper pricing which is hard to resist when your low on funds.
    "Of all God's creatures, only the honeybee improves its environment and preys on no other species."--Haydon Brown

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Norfolk, VA
    Posts
    164

    Default Re: foundation prices and question about increasing hive counts

    Unless you can get your lumber real cheap, by the time you calculate the equipment, setup, aggravation, one wrong cut, and time, it is best to buy the woodenware. Been there, done that. I am lucky in that there is a person that buys by the semi-truck load and resells wholesale.

    I still make a box here and there if I am in a bind, but it is not cheaper.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
    Posts
    2,230

    Default Re: foundation prices and question about increasing hive counts

    Not painting is a false economy. Sure, the boxes will survive a few years, but the paint at retail cost less than dollar a box and will extend the life of the wood from three or four years to three or four decades -- and if you repaint as needed, the boxes should outlast you.

    Mis-mixed color paint is more like a quarter a box, and at that price not painting is plain silly. I've been using boiled linseed oil under the primer, too as I think that will increase the adhesion of the paint and will make it last even longer.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Bedford, Indiana
    Posts
    43

    Default Re: foundation prices and question about increasing hive counts

    Why is it a false economy? How many barns built with unpainted native lumber have been standing for 50+ years? IMO using native lumber over cheap pine is the advantage. I have a router, a through jig that does dovetail and box corners, local sawmill down the road and time on my hands. I don't watch tv. My wood of choice is poplar or black walnut. @.55 a bd ft I can build 3 for the price it costs to buy 1.
    Last edited by Josh Rollins; 01-08-2014 at 07:51 AM. Reason: spelling

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    McClure, OH
    Posts
    984

    Default Re: foundation prices and question about increasing hive counts

    The "savings" on 8 frames is because each box is 2 frames short.

    You can build most of your hardware and buy the frames. You can go 100% foundationless (add supporting wire if you want to) or you can buy a little bit of foundation to use as guides, or use half of a sheet in the middle of the frame. It all depends what your tolerance for perfect comb is.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    4,652

    Default Re: foundation prices and question about increasing hive counts

    >How many barns built with unpainted native lumber have been standing for 50+ years?

    That was old growth lumber which was a lot denser than the 2nd growth lumber of today.
    I have been beekeeping for 43 years and have been throwing away or cutting down rotten boxes for years. I was just searching for a good 10" nail cutting blade this morning. If you are still beekeeping a few decades from now you will regret not building your stuff to last.

    You would be surprised on how fast 50 years comes around.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    4,652

    Default Re: foundation prices and question about increasing hive counts

    To back up my previous post here are two pictures of equipment I was dealing with today, a box made by me and a cover made by my buddy both 30+ years ago. You can skimp on screws, wood, glue and paint today but remember....you might become an old man beekeeper and be having to replace your own handcrafted but rotten equipment years ahead of it's time. Notice the new inner cover. It replaces late '70s inner covers.




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