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How much does it cost to get started in beekeeping?  RSS feed

 
Larry Bock
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About how much money needs to be invested so I have enough honey for personal use ( plus a few gift jars) a honey bee starter kit if you will??....larry
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Interesting question Larry, Dollars to start will depend on type of Hive you want, if you plan on building your own or "store bought", Bees, are you collecting a swarm or are you purchasing a starter.

Most Starter Kits come with everything but the bees, and they tend to be in the $350.00 range but come with hive, keeper suit, smoker, hive tool etc.

Bees I've seen for sale are in the $100 to $200 dollar range and come with workers and a queen.

Redhawk
 
Gregory T. Russian
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Location: Mad City, Wisconsin
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Larry Bock wrote:About how much money needs to be invested so I have enough honey for personal use ( plus a few gift jars) a honey bee starter kit if you will??....larry


My case: $300 for Bosch table saw + $150(+/-) for jackets, smokers, hive tools..
Bees: free - self-caught
Hives: cost of hardware (screws) - self-built from free lumber materials.
 
Michael Cox
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First mistake most beginners make is not getting enough hives. If you want to be sustainable in the medium to long term you need at least two. This way if one has problems you can share resources (such as eggs, if one goes queenless), or you can make splits to replace losses. Two should be your minimum, but four colonies is likely better.

Cost wise, you can get into beekeeping very cheaply if you have time, resources and are handy with tools. I have none of those, so I buy my equipment. This lets me get better than I could make myself. The cheapest DIY hives are horizontal top bar hives.
 
David Livingston
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http://biobees.com/how_to_start_beekeeping.php There you go how to do it for Free
 
Taylor Cleveland
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Last year was my first year, I LOVE my bees! We use top-bar hives. I don't think one hive is better than the other. Top-bar hive just made more sense to us, if you don't know much about them they are worth looking up. A positive of top-bars is that they can be made very cheaply. (I would suggest making them as cheap as possibable the first time, we already know of modifications we want to make for the next batch we build) You can use plywood or pallets or whatever scrap wood.

I would say build (or buy) whatever hive you choose. I think you could probably build one for $50-100, buying is probably $250-350? You would have to check that.

As far as the bees themselves, I think they are about $180-250. We bought ours last year for $180. I would suggest watching a lot of YouTube videos on catching wild swarms. Not just in traps but swarms that have landed on someone's tree or mailbox. We have caught 2 this year and 1 last year. We were never taught. I watched 3 videos and read a couple of articles. It is SO EASY, as long as they aren't in a awkward location for you to get to. I would suggest doing that. You can even post on Facebook or call you local exterminators to let them know you want to catch swarms. They get calls all spring and will refer people to you. That way the bees are free.

Now comes the bee suite. Top-bar hives tend to have slightly calmer bees. I have seen lots of people with a tshirt and bee veil only. I have a ultra breeze suite. They are super expensive but I have never been stung! Keep an eye out on Craigslist and eBay, you can probably find a standard bee suite on their. (Ultra breeze was $250.00 worth every penny! You can buy a standard suite for $50 online new)

Other than that you need a hive tool(you can probably get by with something else. I lost mine and use butter knives, or whatever I can find) a smoker, and a way to feed them if they have no honey to survive on. I don't feed unless they NEED it. There are tons of diy feeders.

I agree you should build/buy extra hives. I wish we did. So depending on how frugal you want to be, I would say $200-$300 would be as cheap as you could go for a couple hives. We spent WAY too much money. With how fancy we built our hives, we bought bees instead of caught wild swarms, and our suites. I'm embarrassed to say we spent a little over $1,000. To do it again I would do everything differently but the ultra breeze. I would have build a simple and cheap hive as well as being patient and did everything I could to get wild swarms.
Hope this helps!!!
 
Peter VanDerWal
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Larry Bock wrote:About how much money needs to be invested so I have enough honey for personal use ( plus a few gift jars) a honey bee starter kit if you will??....larry


Depends on how good you are are scrounging/DIY.

I built a top bar hive out of some old wood I already had.  The only things I bought were a bee jacket and a smoker, and I could have made the smoker if I wanted too.  I captured a feral swarm, so my bees were free.
 
Todd Parr
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If I was starting again right now, I would build two Perone hives.  If you buy the lumber, maybe $150.00 if I recall correctly.  A bee suit.  I spent $125 on mine and I sometimes wish I just bought a hood.  I don't want to be stung in the eyes.  Bees here cost $120 for a 3lb package.  All told, you should be able to do it for under $600 certainly, and if you have old lumber and some nails/screws available, you could get two packages of bees and the suit for <$400.
 
Larry Bock
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Peter VanDerWal wrote:
Larry Bock wrote:About how much money needs to be invested so I have enough honey for personal use ( plus a few gift jars) a honey bee starter kit if you will??....larry


Depends on how good you are are scrounging/DIY.

I built a top bar hive out of some old wood I already had.  The only things I bought were a bee jacket and a smoker, and I could have made the smoker if I wanted too.  I captured a feral swarm, so my bees were free.

When we go to camp in ME, we have the enevitable " beer can bag". Wild honey bees there show up in mass twice a day. They are friendly, no one has ever been stung when they opened up the bag to dispose of a can
I tried to follow them for an afternoon or two to find the hive
Too smart for me.  They come in from every direction

 
Peter VanDerWal
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Location: Southern Arizona
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Larry Bock wrote:When we go to camp in ME, we have the enevitable " beer can bag". Wild honey bees there show up in mass twice a day. They are friendly, no one has ever been stung when they opened up the bag to dispose of a can
I tried to follow them for an afternoon or two to find the hive
Too smart for me.  They come in from every direction


We had another swarm set up a temporary camp in one of our trees last week.  Wish I'd had another hive ready to go, but I've been too busy with my new job to get around to building another one yet.  Oh well, there is always next year.
 
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