Re: What price to charge for strong beehives I have to sell?
A very strong 10-frame deep goes for about $220 in my area this time of year. (Where "very strong" means all 10 frames are packed with bees.) However, I don't think that implies a hive consisting of two strong 10-frames deeps (which is the equivalent of three mediums) would go for $440. Fewer people have $440 to drop on beekeeping than have $220, and I think most people interested in beekeeping want to grow the hives themselves rather than pay "full price" for someone else's "turnkey" hives. So, maybe $300 -$350 if the hives are sold as described.
You would certainly get more overall if you broke the hives down into smaller but more units. Perhaps do walk-away splits, then sell the mother hives immediatly, and sell the daughter hives once they have requeened and show a good egg pattern.
"The hives are extremely strong, . . . have swarmed . . . ". These two are frequently mutually exclusive, meaning a hive that has just swarmed usually has a substantially reduced population, so you may consider re-evaluating their strength. Not saying there is anything wrong with the hives, just that "large population" and "freshly swarmed" typically don't go hand-in-hand. (unless I am misinterpreting what is meant by "extremely strong.") Result being that the strong 10-frame deep worth $220, above, will be worth less after it has swarmed. Keep in mind that "freshly swarmed" also means that the hive is now led by an unproven queen, which will have some negative affect on perceived value to some.
Additionally, the time of year they are sold matters, too. For example, when it is close to winter, the hives have less value because the buyer is immediatly taking on the risk of whether the hive will survive the winter. Mid-summer they may have more value because there will be new beeks who didn't get their orders in last year who are desperate for a hive or two.
Last edited by shinbone; 06-09-2014 at 10:12 AM.
(3rd year, 12 hives, Zone 5b, 5400 ft, 15.8" annual rainfall)