Re: Western Bee Supply - outrageous shipping costs!
Package carriers like UPS and FedEx have as part of their rate schedule a concept called DIM Weight (Dimensional weight). The cubic volume of the item is computed, and for items that exceed a certain ratio of volume to weight - additional charges are applied.
I haven't specifically checked assembled hives, but given the large volume of empty space in a hive body, I'd expect that assembled hive bodies are charged shipping at DIM rates.
Buy your [shipped] hives unassembled and assemble them yourself to save on shipping costs. Don't forget to use glue along with staples/nails/screws.
... Titebond is good ...
--- Victor Hugo - "Common sense is in spite of, not the result of, education.”