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.