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Hi I have one hive of bees and have been wanting to get some more . Yesterday I talked to an older beekeeper who is trying to sell a few hives because the work is getting to be to much for him . I'm planning on looking at the hives tomorrow and was wondering what I should be looking for and how much a average hive full of bees would be worth . Also is it okay to move bees in cold weather? thanks
 

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I think your going to get a price range of anything from 50 dollars to 150 dollars. This has alot to do with quality of woodenware, strength of hive, history of deseases, and so on.

The one thing I will add to whatever price you come up with to the above items....hives in the fall are worth considerably less than in the spring. I would not give "top" dollar for hives that have yet made it through winter. I try to figure about a 25% discount for hives in fall for the expected or possible winter kill.

The other advantage you have is a motivated seller. You are in a good position, at this time of year to pay no more then about 75-90 dollars per hive and thats with extremely good woodenware.

You can still move them. Just try to do it when temps are above 45-50. Depending how many hive boxes and the wieght, which should be maximum at this time of year, maybe you can let them where they are, and do splits in the spring, after doing inspections, and then move them into your apiary after you have determined them to be desease free. Easier to move and you can do full inspection.

That would also allow you to perhaps work a deal with this "oldtimer" and pay a discount for any hives not making it through the winter. Something that would be his doing, and not yours.

Hope this gives you something to think about.
 

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Don't pay much! Figure out your costs for new equipment and foundation for what you would consider buying. Then think about how you could split your current bees in spring and let them raise their own queen or else purchase new queens. My guess is that with purchased NEW queens, your cost per hive could be less than $50. The downside would be time delay for hive to get up and running.

I enjoy building my hives. I like watching them raise new queens and choosing a new queen breeder. I like feeding them sugar and watching the foundation get drawn. I like knowing how old my foundation is and what chemicals have been exposed to it. I like monitoring disease conditions.

My guess is that $50 per hive to be a maximum price that I would pay, almost irregardless of condition of the woodenware. In a good year I bet that a single hive of bees could be turned into 10 if you knew what you are doing (might not make any honey).

Now if he has extracting equipment.....
 

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Nursebee I don't think it is possible to turn one hive into 10 and have them make it through winter. Feel free to prove me wrong.

[This message has been edited by magnet-man (edited November 03, 2004).]
 

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I dont know if it was just the natural direction of the conversation or some kind of comparision between the original question of buying hives, and whether splits would be better.

Buying established hives for the right price allows you to not only harvest a crop the first year and recoup your investment, but it can also allow you to split a purchased hive early enough that you can build your numbers, and harvest a honey crop. One of the more valuable items in beekeeping is comb. With it you need not feed, miss this coming years honey crop, and so on. Many advantages.

Doing splits for all your buildup numbers gives you advantages in new comb, knowing the history of deseases, is fun and rewarding, and has other advantages. But waiting for the comb to be drawn, losing this years honey crop in doing so many splits that is spoken of (something I would not reccommend), and the cost with foundation, building, time invested, and so on, can be costly. Doing a knockdown split (one time) early enough to each hive will still allow you a honey crop, but its a slow way to build numbers of hives.

We always throw in the "I build them myself" comment, and its nice to allow people to know that some do build, and its not that hard. But the reality is that many do not for many reasons. I also would not advise a person to go from one hive to spltting 8 to 12 times in one year. I may be assuming...but with one hive, I'll make that assumption that perhaps the experience level is not great.

I do alot of splitting, but never miss the opportunity to buy productive hives that will return investment immediately. They are two different items, and both have a place for consideration. And should not be confused.
 

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I would not expect a hive to split 4 times in a season. But if it booms enough and it works then it's great. I was using the wax coated PermaComb so they never had to draw any comb. I also put the original package in a medium depth five frame nuc and split as it filled up so they didn't have much room to heat. So I have done 4 hives from one package in one year, but I wouldn't expect that to happen every time. It just worked out that way once. Usually a good hive can be split somewhere between 1 and 4 times in a year depending on the weather and the queen and the flow. In a typical year one split, but in a really bad year you may not get ANY splits.

It's the same with yeilds or anything else agricultural. Some years I've gotten 200-300 pounds of honey from one hive. Some years I've fed 100 pounds of sugar per hive and gotten NO honey from ANY hive. In reality it usually falls somewhere in between.
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For me, used equipment has not been worth it. It falls apart easier, requires more work to pain than new, has generally not been of a standard size such that my hive mover will work, has an unknown disease state, an unknown treatment history ("razmataz" or other illegal drugs or even use of some that I do not want to use), and generally older comb than I am using. Wax can be a pesticide dump holding residues. This past year I knew beekeepers buying $30 packages (albeit in bulk and picking them up). So for me it is not worth it to buy bees for that much money.

Now if I had a serious pollination contract for $40 or more, better believe I would buy every hive possible, but not for 100 bucks each.

If I look at my cost benefit analysis for this I would need lined up pollination work to pay more than $50 a hive. I do not think that I am typical in this belief but it is true for me nonetheless.

Have I said that Mozilla rocks?
 

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If you have a 20 frame double deep with at least 10 frames of brood, place a good frame of brood with another drawn frame, a frame feeder and a new frame with undrawn comb in a four frame nuc box (or 5 with another new frame). Feed like mad after introducing a new queen. After 3 weeks new brood will hatch and the other frame should be drawn with some new eggs in it. When drawn, place into larger box or if a flow is on remove feeder and add another frame. It does not take long for young bees on a flow to draw out comb.

THis depends on several things. Temp is warm. Queen is accepted and healthy. They get fed enough. If you do this just once you have a 10 fold increase in hive numbers. If you split more conservatively your bees will be stronger and ready to split again before fall. (Split a good hive into 4 then maybe again and you have 16 hives).

I have done this some when extra queens were shipped to me. I wish I had some blueberry farmer offer me 2006 pollination now, I would split like mad this year on a bank loan.

Maybe I better put the mead away...
 
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Hi Matthias, I bought 6 hives(two deeps ea) from a guy this summer. I spent $500 for all. I thought I was getting a good deal until I got them home. The woodenware was new but the foundation was installed upside-down and nailed in incorrectly. Some of the drawn comb was already falling apart. Most of this I missed when I inspected them prior. The bees had been neglected and mismanaged. I have had a lot of labor involved in correcting all the problems, not to mention figuring out what to medicate for. I have learned my lesson. My opinion is buy all new to start out with, then do splits as the folks here suggest. Like building a house on an old foundation. Get a solid foundation and build from there. Keep watching this forum for learning. There are a lot of great folks with invaluable experiance to learn from. I talk with experianced beekeepers who wonder where I get this stuff. Todd Zeiner Clayton Ind
 

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I met an older beekeeper that is wanting out as well . He has all 8 frame hive bodys . He is waiting until spring to sell me his hives , he has 10 now with bees in them . After that he wants to get out as it is too heavy for him to handel anymore .

What would a fair price on some really old equipment be ? I am talking about some hive bodys as old as 20 years old . He also has an extractor 9 frame I believe and enough hive bodys to do 50 complete hives with 3 supers each .

Drifter

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Some can learn by others mistakes , others have to whizz on the electric fence for themslves .
 
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