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How much

would it cost to set yourself up with a couple of hives, bees, and all the basic equipement needed?

i have no idea how much it would cost now, but as a rough guide back 1995 i paid, 1000 for 2 hives incl frames, wax sheets, capper, smoker all second hand.
i then also had to buy a spinner, protective clothing, mask, gauntlets boots, jars and steralizer etc
a nucleus of bees cost 95

i kept bees for 2 seasons then gave up because of veroa.

Cheers Mogs

Hi CS,
        I have been selling National Hives & Bees for 150 per Hive, so no need to spend a fortune.Most of the gear you will pick up s/hand if you look around, or go to an association auction,held mostly in the spring time.If you join your local branch of the BBKA most have an extractor ( spinner) that members can borrow to process their honey.

Or if your feeling really flush buy all new gear from Thornes and blow your savings.

Hope this is of some help, and not too off putting.

Cheers Beeman.

Dad used to have some hives that he had with his mate- but his mate got stung and had a severe reaction and nearly died in Dads car- they got rid- but Dad regrets it now- I just wondered how much it would be to start again if Dad and I got into it together.

Good idea re joining the local club

If you contact your local branch of the BBKA, you may find they run a beginners course in the early spring, or over the winter months.Some associations have their own Apiary where you can watch Bees being handled,and have a go under supervision.This is a good idea,sort of try before you buy.
Rick & Carol

check out e bay for honey seperators, ripeners etc I got some real bargains off there

I started 5 years ago....

I got 3  2nd hand Smith hives (complete), 5 supers, a smoker all for 100.

I got donated a honey extractor from my local club, and bought myself a suit and gloves (90).

This yr John got a suit for 50 from somewhere down west Cornwall...they are online.....

As long as you thoroughly clean 2nd hand hives they are okay...

join your local club.....people die (most beekeepers tend to be older folk) and if they know someone local who wants to keep bees...

Lorrainelovesplants wrote:
I started 5 years ago....

join your local club.....people die (most beekeepers tend to be older folk) and if they know someone local who wants to keep bees...

Oh, what a good idea ..... and winters just around the corner, that usually tends to sort them out  

Seriously though, I built my two hives (still unused ... but ready for next year) cost me about 25 each in materials, and about 10 hours to make the both of them.

here's a link to the plans I used:
mole trapper

Getting involved with your local club is a great way to start. Also there is the for loads of help and advice.  I reckon I set up my first hive for under 200 BUT be warned you really do need more than one! after a year I now have 4 and another I look after.  Get on a local course if possible.  and be aware that the biggest outlay in my opinion is time!  between April ish to August you will need to be visiting your hive at least once every 7 days - More if something needs doing -swarm management etc.  It is great, but glad I have the backup of a little training from local beek and the forum i mentioned.  Would recommend you get new hives to reduce risk initially to your new bees.  Great people on the other forum selling new own build hives - a tad more expensive then thornes, but far better quality.

still thinking about it, sometimes thats the best part with these things!!!

Top bar hives are cheap to make and don't need any "ancillary" stuff.

Check out

There are free, easy to follow plans on how to build one, plus loads of stuff in general - I learnt a lot when I had bees, and there are some really knowledgeable folk on there who are willing to help

Cheers Sue

The only catch with top bar hives is getting the honey....
When you lift out the frames they may have honey and brood on the same bit of comb.
I like my smith hive - seperate bits for honey and brood - so Im not annoying them removing the honey.

Also getting the honey from the remove from a top bar you have to either use it as cut comb honey or try to extract (possibly in a solar collector) by breaking up the comb.
Again, I like spinning the frames in an extractor.
Each to their own - both systems have advantages and disadvantages.

You could make a ply seperator with a little piece of queen extruder in it for the top bar for honey storage only.

Mine didnt.  

I found that the brood combs certainly have brood honey and pollen on, but as long as you let them keep enough of their own honey - which I always preferred to do anyway - they keep the central section for the "brood" area, and the outer combs for the honey.  If they need more space in the brood area, you just shuffle the "honey combs" further up and put a blank "stick" in the middle, which if you have straightish brood combs helps keep the new one straight as well.

I just used the crush and strain method, or cut the honeycomb into sections, but I wanted the bees for pollination in the garden and some honey for me, rather than lots of honey.  All the left over bits I used to make mead or Melomel which is a fruit mead -  but you can put them in a cage to spin if you really want to use an extractor.  I would think if you were into selling honey then cut comb on beautiful freshly made honeycomb would get a premium price, and most beekeeping suppliers sell the boxes to put it in.

New honeycomb is a delight to look at compared with that drawn on foundation, and having seen the huge dirty blocks of wax at my local beekeepers emporium, imported from God knowswhere, and containing God knowswhat that they were using to make the foundation they sold, made me even happier letting the bees make their own.

get onto the beekeeping forum if you want a good hive at a fair price and lots of backup look for the chap called hivemaker he is based near porlock in somerset, I have met him and his family several times and had some lovely hives from him all built by him and his sons.  Personally i wouldnt stray from the national hive, its easy and straightforward.

Your first year will be easy, your second year you will be glad you have kept it simple as it is a totally differant ball game.

BUT well worth it. I am into my 4th and just invested in my first extractor - have borrowed up until now.

Now would be a good time for you to be getting to the meetings if you intend to go.

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