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New to Bee's

 
Jeff Roan
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Hi Everyone,

Wondering how much it would cost for a new person to get into bee keeping with one hive to start. Cost roughly of tools, hive, suit,ect.



Thanks, Roan
 
tel jetson
steward
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Location: woodland, washington
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depends on a lot of things.

if you're handy and you've got access to scrap wood and some tools, you could pretty reasonably get started for free or very little. a suit isn't really necessary, and swarms can be collected for just the cost of transportation there and back which I've done on a bicycle with a trailer. a cheap spray bottle can take the place of a smoker for most uses. honey extraction can be done using buckets and cheese cloth.

on the other extreme, it would be easy to spend over $400 on a hive, $150 on a suit/veil/gloves, $150 on bees, $100 on a smoker, $20 on a hive tool, and hundreds on extraction equipment. spend some more on books and miscellany and you're likely over $1000 without trying very hard.

there are a lot of options between those two, as well, including buying used equipment and more reasonably priced hives. I sell a basic Warré hive made of Western Red Cedar for $120. I'll probably be running a holiday special on a Warré hive made of thicker lumber and stouter construction for in the range of $170 dollars and Oscar Perone's Automatic Hive for around $230. if the more common Langstroth hive is more appealing, those can be purchased unassembled relatively cheaply from a local beekeeping supplier or from one of many internet retailers. there are several other outfits building Warré hives for $200-$300. building your own hive with purchased material can be done for less than $60, depending on the design and lumber that you choose.

lots of options.
 
Charlei Scott
Posts: 32
Location: Tampa, FL (USDA 9b)
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As someone who got a new hive a week and a half ago and hasn't even been in the hive yet (my husband did the transporting and I was just at a distance) and has already been stung twice (leg and above right eye) I would say a beginner shouldn't be without at least a veil and gloves.

The veil gloves and smoker would be the most expensive part though. You could build a top bar hive if you're handy from reclaimed materials pretty easily and cheaply. But from the little bit of experience we have, plan to pay around $100 in supplies and go from there. Try and find someone local who sells nucs or will teach you how to capture a swarm - again though, if you've no experience and don't have a mentor, then capturing a swarm on your own may not be the best start since you'd have to requeen also.

Just my thought as a super noob.
 
tel jetson
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Charlei Scott wrote:capturing a swarm on your own may not be the best start since you'd have to requeen also.


no need to replace queens from a collected swarm. all the colonies I've got started as swarms I collected or that moved in without my help, and I let them handle queens theyselves. if they want to supersede a queen, they're welcome to, but I'm not going to force the issue.

there are folks who might offer some compelling reasons to replace a swarm's queen, but I haven't found any of them terribly convincing.
 
Charlei Scott
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Location: Tampa, FL (USDA 9b)
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Good to know. Reasons I've heard are mostly related to making sure your bees don't have a chance of getting africanized.
 
tel jetson
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Charlei Scott wrote:Good to know. Reasons I've heard are mostly related to making sure your bees don't have a chance of getting africanized.


that seems reasonable.

you may have heard that all beekeeping is local. the closest africanized bees to me are around a thousand miles away, which might not be the case for somebody in Florida.

it's also worth noting that quite a few people are successfully keeping and harvesting honey from colonies of africanized bees.
 
Charlei Scott
Posts: 32
Location: Tampa, FL (USDA 9b)
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I am willing to let those people do their thing while I learn to do mine before I venture into that world.

It's true, I have heard it's local, but it still seems safe to advise a beginner to at least have face protection for the off chance that something goes wrong or the hive gets peeved for any reason since even if you aren't allergic to bees, too many stings in the face can make life extremely difficult for a while just from the normal swelling.

Just my opinion...
 
tel jetson
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Charlei Scott wrote:too many stings in the face can make life extremely difficult for a while just from the normal swelling.


my sister showed some mercy and did not publish the pictures of my face after a swarm call that went a bit awry last summer. she was there because I called her to drive me and the swarm home, since one eye was swollen completely shut, and I could barely open the other.

I don't have any problem with suggesting a veil, though even after that swarm, I generally don't use one during swarm collection. though it was a painful and embarrassing lesson, that collection was very instructive and likely wouldn't have been had I been completely protected from the bees.

just for clarity's sake: I'm not arguing that my way is the only or best way, but it suits me well. it's a lot harder to ignore how my actions impact the bees when they're free to sting me. and I'm not of the get-stung-until-it-doesn't-hurt-anymore school. I hate being stung and do my darnedest to avoid it.
 
Alison Thomas
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Well I'm a newbee too having become a guardian of bees in May this year. I visit my two colonies at least twice a day and stand only 0.5m to the side of the hive each time to watch the proceedings and I wear just my normal clothes with no extra protection. Sometimes I encourage one of the bees to climb onto my finger so that I can take a closer look. My husband is horrified and says I should have my gloves on!

However, I do have a white beekeeping blouson jacket with hood attached that I wear on the extremely odd occasion when I have to lift a corner the topcloth (I have two Warre beehives). I had a baptism of fire back in June when I had to transfer one of the nucs from a Dadant box into a Warre via a chop n crop. It was horribly invasive and I don't blame the bees for attacking me - I got stung on my legs at least 25 times as I had on dark trousers. Now that was daft of me as I know that bees don't like dark colours but I had nothing else at the time. I'm just so grateful that I had on my blouson and veil. So yes, if you have to open the hive I reckon a veil is safest. Some folk think that to wear protection sets a 'war' mentality in your mind. However I disagree, I don't think it makes me any less gentle - I love my bees and I'd hate to be the cause of any of them getting hurt.
 
tel jetson
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I certainly wear a veil when I've got to do something that is certain to upset the bees. most notably: cutouts.
 
Jeff Roan
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Thanks for all the replies! Good starting info. I was out looking for bags of leaf's people put out for trash (it being fall and all) and noticed a couple be hives behind a house near where I live. I was going to just drive by but thought why not stop and ask him about his hives. So his wife answerd an got him for me. He was more then happy to show me the whole operation! He had 6 hives with bagged leaf's around them to keep the wind off the hives. An a huge tree trunk the state droped off, theres a hive an tarp on top that he's trying to get them to move into.

He hooked me up with to bee keeping magizines and let me sample a piece of honey comb and gave me a bottle of honey!!! He's part of a club too im going to check out. Cant wait to go back soon and get a chance to see in the hives.

I'm planning on getting a hive set up in spring. He said he needs to get ride of some (a hive). He mentioned he could set me up with a hive for $250. Thats being already exstablished. Is this a good price? I guess I'd be able to harvest honey the first year but im not to worried about that. An I would'nt have to worry as much being the hive being stronger from the start I guess. I know I dont know this guy but he's friends with my father-inlaw so I know he's a trust worthy person. $250 just a bigger chunk of change just for the hive then I expected to start off being a newbie haha.

What you Permies think? He also captures swarms but I work alot an I guess swarms happen at random times. Just looking for the cheaper but best way to get started. Besides a hive for $250 I could see an easy $250 for feeding station a bee suit, smoker, tools ect.
 
Rick Larson
Posts: 210
Location: Manitowoc WI USA Zone 5
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250 bucks is a top of the line price. Much better deals are out there, but it is all a matter of your emotional state. If you reallyreallyreally want bees next year, better to put 250 bucks into a single beehive than spending it on something foolish. Now, if you have long patience to shop and compare, there are far better deals out there. I bought out 2 people who had quit. Both deals had all the equipment, but one had 32 hives and frames for 650 bucks and the other had 38 hive bodies and frames for 500 bucks. Then, I got another deal of 25 hive bodies and frames for 100 bucks.

If somebody close by asks for a hive full of bees, I would probably try to barter. But if that person had nothing, I would probably give him/her one for nothing.

Now, I want to try a Perone hive, so who knows what I will do after getting one of those established!
 
Jeff Roan
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Ya I know of a few more places that have bee hives. I'll have to stop in. Who knows maybe theres not bee anymore an they would want to sell. I'm not keen on the looks of the wood boxes with flashing he had. I'd like to by a hive that is very durable (maybe plastic or some material that dont break down) and looks nice to the eye.

I was watching on how to attacked and caputer a swarm. This seems like it would be cheap an a great way to start maybe for cheap. I could make a swarm box and put lemon oil drops in it. Check it ever 2 weeks an put a drop or 2 at the entreance. Bee's have very good smell. His 7 hive's are 1 mile away. An he says they go off an swarm somewhere durrin the year.

I have plenty of time to wait an research this before I put any money up (6 months till april). I'll be goinga meeting up wit more people to learn more and get a better idea what I want an what I'm gettingmyself into haha.

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