Where to buy beehives?

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6
4
Hamilton
Experience
Wannabee
Hello, I'm a wanna be beekeeper who is still learning everything that there is to know. I'm just wondering, where can you frugally buy beehives. Some places are quite expensive, costing around $300 - $500 . I was even thinking if it is feasible to build your own from untreated scrap wood like pallets. I have done some research and apparently, top bar hives are not to difficult to build, however, I don't own specialist building equipment (only a handsaw and some nails) so I don't know how feasible this idea will be. I'm based in Hamilton if that helps. Thanks for all the advice.
 

Alastair

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Top bar hives are often promoted as easy and cheap to build, but the reality is often the opposite. As you will discover if you google up some plans to build one.

Langstroth hives can be bought kitset and the cost is usually little more or even the same as if you bought the timber and made them yourself.

If you want to buy hives with bees already in, they can be bought for less than the numbers you quoted, even I am selling them for less than that.
 
6
4
Hamilton
Experience
Wannabee
Top bar hives are often promoted as easy and cheap to build, but the reality is often the opposite. As you will discover if you google up some plans to build one.

Langstroth hives can be bought kitset and the cost is usually little more or even the same as if you bought the timber and made them yourself.

If you want to buy hives with bees already in, they can be bought for less than the numbers you quoted, even I am selling them for less than that.
Really! What advice could when looking for hives with bees? There is this polytech course I can take, however, it will cost $500 and they will give you wood to build a hive (didn't give specifics like how many supers, etc...), bees and equipment like a beesuit and smoker. I was just wondering if you think it's worth doing for the cost? As it coincides with uni, I may not have time to do it and I was just wondering if it's better off reading some beekeeping books and getting an AFB certification. Might be hard to join a club at the moment while covid is circulating in the community.
 
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Otto

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98
232
Dunedin
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Reality is it does cost some $$ to start with bees. Boxes with frames cost money. A veil or suit, a hive tool and probably a smoker are things you will need.
If all you have are a handsaw and some nails building your own from scratch would be frustrating (to get right) and time consuming.
Your time might be better spent seeing if there is a local beekeeper who needs an extra set of hands for a day or two and seeing if you can swap your time for a beehive rather than money.
 

Alastair

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What Otto said.

Also, wether to do a course or not is a matter of if you can afford it. There are good, and not so good, courses.

When I started with bees I was a 12 or 13 year old, I didn't even know any other beekeepers at the time, all I had was a very good book on bees. From it I built a hive with wood that I found, ran the hive successfully and made plenty of honey.

The modern edition of that book is called Practical Beekeeping in NZ, it tells you everything you need to know i highly recommend. It can be purchased online here Practical Beekeeping in NZ (5th Edition) • Ecrotek
 

Mummzie

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As it coincides with uni, I may not have time to do it and I was j
if you are time short, it may pay to research how much time you need to spend in maintaining the hive, especially in the spring. They are not set and forget garden ornaments.
A good course is well worth the money. Even better is being able to buddy up with another beekeeper.
Welcome to the Forum @littlebee
 

Alastair

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Really! What advice could when looking for hives with bees?

Sorry I missed that bit.

There is some shonky stuff being sold and a new beekeeper with no experience has little way to tell the difference. You can even buy a diseased hive that has to be destroyed as soon as you get it and yes, that happens. So when buying a hive with bees it is highly advised to take an experienced beekeeper with you to look over the hive pre purchase.

If you buy the hive from an advertisement, first link the ad here so experienced eyes can look over it and offer their advice.
 
6
4
Hamilton
Experience
Wannabee
Sorry I missed that bit.

There is some shonky stuff being sold and a new beekeeper with no experience has little way to tell the difference. You can even buy a diseased hive that has to be destroyed as soon as you get it and yes, that happens. So when buying a hive with bees it is highly advised to take an experienced beekeeper with you to look over the hive pre purchase.

If you buy the hive from an advertisement, first link the ad here so experienced eyes can look over it and offer their advice.
Ok, will do. Thanks for all the advice!
 
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8,649
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where can you frugally buy beehives. Some places are quite expensive, costing around $300 - $500
simply put if that seams expensive you need to rethink things. even tho beekeeping is a fairly cheap hobby there is still quite a bit of cost.
I was just wondering if it's better off reading some beekeeping books and getting an AFB certification.
that is an excellent idea. far better to read the books and be familiar with everything first.
a course is a good idea. starting off on the right foot makes things a whole lot easier.


I have done some research and apparently, top bar hives are not to difficult to build,
keep away from speciality hives. they may be promoted as being cheap and easy, but they are not. many beeks fail with them.
start with the basics and work up. keep things simple. once your skilled and experienced, go for it, do any weird hive you like.

also building hives, even assembling kitsets, takes a fair bit of skill and setup. a lot of beginners screw it up.
 
6
4
Hamilton
Experience
Wannabee
simply put if that seams expensive you need to rethink things. even tho beekeeping is a fairly cheap hobby there is still quite a bit of cost.

that is an excellent idea. far better to read the books and be familiar with everything first.
a course is a good idea. starting off on the right foot makes things a whole lot easier.



keep away from speciality hives. they may be promoted as being cheap and easy, but they are not. many beeks fail with them.
start with the basics and work up. keep things simple. once your skilled and experienced, go for it, do any weird hive you like.

also building hives, even assembling kitsets, takes a fair bit of skill and setup. a lot of beginners screw it up.
Yes, these are fair points. I'm going to get the practical beekeeping in nz book and take it from there!
 
6
4
Hamilton
Experience
Wannabee
if you are time short, it may pay to research how much time you need to spend in maintaining the hive, especially in the spring. They are not set and forget garden ornaments.
A good course is well worth the money. Even better is being able to buddy up with another beekeeper.
Welcome to the Forum @littlebee
Most definitely. I do think during that time, I should hopefully not be to busy so I might sign up for the course.
 
13
12
Dunedin
Experience
Semi Commercial
Hello, I'm a wanna be beekeeper who is still learning everything that there is to know. I'm just wondering, where can you frugally buy beehives. Some places are quite expensive, costing around $300 - $500 . I was even thinking if it is feasible to build your own from untreated scrap wood like pallets. I have done some research and apparently, top bar hives are not to difficult to build, however, I don't own specialist building equipment (only a handsaw and some nails) so I don't know how feasible this idea will be. I'm based in Hamilton if that helps. Thanks for all the advice.
As a newbie it would be best if you bought new equipment from either Ceracell, Beequip, Ecrotek, NZ Beeswax or Beeline Supplies. Check them all out on the web to find your best prices. Purchase the new equipment needed then wait till Spring and buy a 5 or 10 frame nucleus hive with a new mated and laying queen.
Find a Bee Club in your area and join, attend every meeting and learn as much as you can, even before you get any bees. Beekeeping cannot be taken lightly, once you have bees then you have to look after them appropriately. It is a responsibility that is ongoing no matter what is happening in your life, they cannot be abandoned if you lose interest.
As to buying frugally there can be problems associated with this. First and foremost the biggest worry is buying second hand gear that may be infected with AFB, you just don't know if it is clean or not. That is why I recommend buying new gear when you are starting up with your first hive. Later on after you have become more learned with beekeeping then you may want to buy second hand. Pallet wood is the lowest grade wood, full of knots, sap pockets and bad grain. Stay away from this cheap wood, it won't last even if you paint it. Purchase boxes that have been assembled and paraffin dipped. Once you have some bought equipment then you will understand that making your own is logistically extreemely difficult unless you have access to woodworking machinery.
 

tommy dave

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mostly wellington, sometimes dunedin
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If you're in Wellington or taranaki I could sort you some kitset boxes for what I paid for them, under $10 a box - assembling them is straightforward. Frames cost what frames cost, hard to shortcut that.

There are some fairly cheap hives complete with bees around the place too, that's probably the most cost effective way to get started

You need a good beesuit, and smoker. Sometimes you can get these cheap on trade me, but you need to be able to distinguish good beesuits from crap ones.
A cheap hive tool will be fine for only a few hives.
 
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6
4
Hamilton
Experience
Wannabee
If you're in Wellington or taranaki I could sort you some kitset boxes for what I paid for them, under $10 a box - assembling them is straightforward. Frames cost what frames cost, hard to shortcut that.

There are some fairly cheap hives complete with bees around the place too, that's probably the most cost effective way to get started

You need a good beesuit, and smoker. Sometimes you can get these cheap on trade me, but you need to be able to distinguish good beesuits from crap ones.
A cheap hive tool will be fine for only a few hives.
Thanks for the offer and advice, unfortunately I live all the way in Hamilton. I will definitely have a look around though.
 
3,513
6,576
Hawkes Bay
Experience
Commercial
Perfectly functional hives can be made from pallet wood if it's the right dimensions. Simplicity frames can also be made from this timber however it tends to be pretty hard on your machinery as their are often embedded bits of stone et cetera. Beekeepers used to make their hives from almost anything with kerosene cases being a popular choice and I still have a few boxes made from white pine that were offcuts from the freezing works where they were used to make barrels for corned beef exporting. They would be at least 60 years old. Having said all that it's probably cheaper to just buy the gear and either look around for an existing hives being sold or buy new. I 100% agree that buying secondhand gear is a recipe for disaster. A lot of it of course will be clean and free of disease but you just can't tell by looking at and I have seen so many people get caught out over the years.
You can always make some gear and wait for swarm season as there will always be some available often through your local council.
 
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