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Hi bee peeps! I'm not even new yet... I just started a beekeeping apprenticeship class and am hoping I'm not too late to get bees this year... but I know I have to act FAST to make that happen.

First things first... I need a hive and all the equipment! I've been looking online trying to find the best price. Does anyone have a great source for buying a hive? Unassembled would be fine. I'd be looking for two deeps and two supers as a minimum. I have a small suburban farmstead (1/3 acre city lot) where I'll have my bees... so expanding isn't really an option for me unless I start keeping bees offsite which I dont really have time for (I also have chickens, goats, housepets and a very large garden to keep up - plus a full time day job). My local beekeeping association suggested I just "split" my hive when the time comes and sell to someone in the group, which sounds like the best option for me.

In any case... our local options for supplies are limited. We DO have a source, and they're very knowledgable... but things in our area are usually way more expensive than I can find them online. So far, $266 is the cheapest I've found for a complete unassembled hive kit and starter equipment - though I think I want more than just the veil... so I'd be adding another $67 for the full suit. Is this a great deal, or does someone else know of a cheaper option? I do want Langstroth hives, but again, I'm happy to do the assembly. Unless it's in NW Washington, it would need to be an online thing. Please, if anyone has that super cheap hook-up, please let me know! Thanks!
 

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Man lake with free shipping. Or build it yourself.
 

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Welcome to Beesource!

I believe that you can do better than buying a "kit". :) Just buy individual components that you actually need. Note that you while you do need one or more hive bodies, you don't necessarily need to buy an inner cover & outer cover. There are less expensive options, starting with a piece of plywood and and some shims. My suggestion for protection is to start with a veil, and some long sleeved clothing. A white sweatshirt ($3 at a local thrift store) & veil was my first protection. See how it goes before you spend money on a more expensive jacket/suit.

If you are handy with a sewing machine, here are plans for making your own veil:
http://www.klamathbeekeepers.org/Be...uipment/making_your_own_veil_on_a_budget.html
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks. Most of the "kits" I see, mostly seem to contain things I need. Seems more expensive to purchase each thing separately, though maybe I'm just looking in the wrong places. I am thinking about just getting a veil though. I think I'll have a hard time finding a full suit that I dont swim in - when you're 5'1" it's hard to buy well-fitted adult clothing! :)

What about gloves? Everything I see contains goatskin gloves. They passed a pair around in class and I really dont like them. First, I don't do leather in general - I prefer synthetic (I'm a vegetarian - wearing skin really grosses me out). Secondly, I forced myself to put them on (despite the skin thing) and it seems like I would have hard time actually DOING anything in them. Seems like beekeeping would require a bit more dexterity than those provide. Is there another material out there that the bees have a hard time stinging through, but that I'll be able to actually USE my fingers in?

Also, I've definitely considered building my own boxes... but I dont have the right kind of saw to do joints and such. Still, thinking I might be better off buying the SAW than buying the boxes... would certainly pay off in the long run. Will probably just buy frames as that looks like more trouble than it's worth to build... but building the hive itself would probably be a good idea.
 

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Get a box of Nitrile gloves from a medical supply store (or amazon) they are meant to be needle stick resistant.

you can get just upper jackets in small sizes. then wear jeans/carharts or something tough like that.
 

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You don't have to wear gloves at all. But a compromise that works for me is nitrile gloves.

Beesource offers free plans for building virtually all hive equipment:
http://www.beesource.com/build-it-yourself/

But, if you want bees this spring, time is short to be building hive bodies without experience. Buy the bodies you need now, and consider getting a tablesaw and experience to build future equipment. Being rushed with a tablesaw is not a healthy experience. Tops can be made without a table saw.

Note that while the plans linked above show a method of using finger joints, there are alternate approaches. My boxes have simpler rabbet joints, and some beeks even use butt joints.

Don't forget the glue! :D
 

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Are you a member of SVBA? Typically clubs get group buying. But, just order from mann lake. price out a package vs individual. You just have to suck it and buy your first kit. You can make pieces of the second just copy the first. There is no real cheap way to get into this. You get what you pay for also. I figure $200 per hive is a good number not including all the starter stuff. Remember time is money also so just order what you need for now. I sell stuff but, it will only save you a little and the time and fuel etc wont save you anything beyond that.

Oh Yea. Welcome to the forum.

http://wabeekeepersforum.proboards.com/ another good resource.
 
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