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Hive Box Order

5219 Views 18 Replies 16 Participants Last post by  margot
OK fellow beeks...need some advice. I am going to be ordering in the near future 10 deeps, 15 mediums, tops, screened bottoms, and all associated frames. I am looking for quality product and long life.

I am trying to decide between Dadant, Mann Lake or Kelly. Also trying to decide between pine and cypress. Either way, I will be painting, not dipping. I am also looking very hard at the thick white plastic telescoping covers from Kelly.

Recommendations? These are my first hives in about 30 years. I want to get it right from the start.
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I recommend, instead of deeps and 10-frame supers, 8-frame medium supers, screened bottom boards and upper entrances.

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OK fellow beeks...need some advice. I am going to be ordering in the near future 10 deeps, 15 mediums, tops, screened bottoms, and all associated frames.
+1 for the suggestion of all mediums; 8 or 10 frame you pick.

I am trying to decide between Dadant, Mann Lake or Kelly.
I believe W.T Kelly cuts their frame rests deeper than the others. They do this to go with their old style rest protector. I would look at the others if you find this information to be reliable or plan to order all your boxes from the same company.

Miller Bee Supply is close to you (182 miles) and I have heard good things about them. It might be worth your time and money to drive down and get your supplies vs have them shipped That way, while your there, you can ask questions and "kick the tires" so to speak.

Also trying to decide between pine and cypress.
I did a lot of research two years ago and found this; most say the new growth cypress and good pine are equal in longevity if prepared with oil based primer and good paint.
I like Sherwin Williams Exterior oil base primer and the Duration semi-gloss exterior latex paint. Not cheap, but dang it's good. If you go in and sign up for emails, they have regular sales of 25% off.

As for the thick white plastic telescoping covers from Kelly's, have never used them so I'm no help.

I would start with 8 or 10 frame mediums and standard Screened Bottom Board and tops. If you decide to go to a more "advanced" set up like Joesph is suggesting, then you can easily switch with minimal equipment. I have no experience with his type of set up, so I can't recommend it over the standard set up.

My partner loves his 8 frame mediums and curses the 10 frame hives. I don't mind the 10 frame mediums, but have some disdain for the 10 frame deeps when full of honey+bees. I am in the process of getting rid of my deep equipment by cutting it down or selling it.

I am happy with 10 frame mediums for hive bodies and 10 frame shallows for honey supers. I picked up a bunch of shallows at an auction or I would be in all mediums.

Hope this helps,
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I'd buy all mediums. Better yet, all eight frame mediums.... but as far as companies, they are all fine. I have purchased hives from all of them. Compare prices counting shipping. Consider if you can pickup the equipment.
I acquired some of Kelley's white plastic covers a few years back in a lot of used equipment and I love them. I haven't bought anymore as I can't justify the extra expense.

And as you've already been reminded - take shipping into account. I pickup my wooden ware at the factory (Humble Abodes) - It is a cool if noisy place to visit.
I am also looking very hard at the thick white plastic telescoping covers from Kelly.
I acquired some of Kelley's white plastic covers a few years back in a lot of used equipment and I love them.
I tried a couple dozen of them a few years ago. Mine had a raised ridge on the underside so that when they sat on the inner cover they actually offered some ventilation. Basically it looked like a good idea. Unfortunately, I use bee escapes when removing honey supers. The ventilation gap on the underside of my Kelly plastic covers was just big enough for bees to squeeze through….sooo the first time I put escapes on the hives with the plastic covers, when I returned the following day the supers were all empty. The hive bees left the supers and robbers were able to get in under the cover. Not an issue if you don’t use bee escapes but if you do, be warned.
I build my own boxes, many plans on the web and this site, frames are another thing unless you have some fancy wood working tools. I like Mann Lake. Shipping is a real consideration!
Good luck:)
Thank you for the input!

You are giving me more things to think about.
I would also vote, since you are in the market for so much woodenware, that you see if you can pick it up rather then have it shipped. How close are you to Brushy Mountain Bees?
I am trying to decide between Dadant, Mann Lake or Kelly.
I have had a hard time getting the Va Dadant office to answer the phone when I try and call them direct. I've given up on them. When you call the 1-800 sometime they re-direct you to the local one because they have a hard time tracking inventory. I have had very good service from Mann Lake, but shipping does get dear.
Some folks have posted elsewhere that Kelley makes the best frames, Dadant a close second. Also from reading the forum, it seems if you go to Dadant, you get the best service from the home office in Hamilton - service from local Dadant vendors seems to be erratic at best, insulting at worst, depending on the local Dadant vendor.

Shipping is prime concern with a large order like you're anticipating. I'd suggest ordering months before you need it, and if possible, Road Trip! :D Kelley has been offering tours during the week, from what I hear. That ought to be interesting.
What I have found over some time is that it does not matter much who the supplier is. What matters more is that you are consistent and stay with one supplier. If you stay with the same supplier then everything fits always. If you use multiple suppliers then you will wind up with many violations of beespace due to sizing differences. They really do not mix and match well.

But that is just my opinion -- Fuzzy
I'm fairly new to beekeeping, but my mentor advised me to stay with the same supplier, due to mismatches between different vendors. I am using deeps for hive bodies & shallows for supers; if I had known more about it at the time I probably would have gotten all mediums instead (easier to manage a single size). My purchased woodenware is from Kelly's, since I was able to get my cousin to pick up my order when he went to KY. You may check to see if any of the suppliers will be in your area for a bee club meeting; some of them will bring your order with them to save you the shipping charges. The shipping charges for that much equipment will be pretty high.
If you are in VA, either Miller's Bee or Brushy Mountain would be close and the freight should be reasonable (if there is such a thing anymore)
The big thing I am looking at is quality. I have found that if you go for quality first, even if it costs a bit more, you usually end up more pleased in the end.

I am getting set up for next spring, that is why I am seeking materials now. So far, I am impressed with Kelley first and Mann Lake second. I have no personal knowledge with Brushy Mountain. Either way, I also agree that whatever you start out with, it is probably wise to stick with.

My general plan is to set up my first 4 hives next spring (2 Italians and 2 Russians). The 5th hive is a just in case/spare parts/inital future growth set up.

I did notice that Kelley also has 3# package sets of both. Has anyone had any experiences with theirs?
They are just bee houses. "Quality" as in higher grade wood will not make them last longer or work better. Quality as in better fit is nice, but all of them are pretty good on that. When they get a bad run it becomes "budget". Commercial is about as good a grade that will get you your money's worth. All the people I've dealt with in the busness have treated me well and have decent quality.
By the way...I've been using the plastic hive tops from Kelley for years now with no problem. They work great for me. I think Walter T. Kelley and Brushy Mountain, along with other vendors are going to be at the Heartland Apicultural Society (HAS) meeting at Tennessee Tech University in Cookeville, Tennessee next is possible that those planning to attend could place an order in advance and pick up while there, thus saving a lot of $ on shipping.
Kelly's has always given me excellent service and great products. The Frankfurt Dadant is also gives great service. I live within 2 hrs of both and consider myself lucky. When I've needed to buy woodware (we try to make most of it ourselves, but sometimes run out of time in the summer) I buy from Kelly. They are closer than Dadant for pickup. Kelly has more experienced staff than Dadant if you have questions.
Last year Dadant had free shipping in December. The service and equipment were both excellent.
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