For anyone who’s interested in how much it might cost to start their own hives: I finally sat down and attempted to figure out how much this is all going to cost me. There’s an equipment supplier not far from here that comes highly recommended, so I’ll likely get my start there. They offer a beginner’s kit that comes with almost everything I think I’ll need to start out; I’ll just need to add a few additional things I think I’ll want.
Turns out that it’s going to be a bit pricier than I’d hoped. The beginner’s kit itself is about $275, extras another $100, bees between $80 and $125 — so that’s roughly $500 for one hive. I had been leaning toward getting two hives to start, but a second hive would be another $250 or so, plus bees. So, not sure if I want to opt for the second hive this year or not. (Note that costs apparently vary widely by location; a great blog up in Canada estimates close to $700 for start up.)
I briefly considered making my own hives, but I don’t think I’m going to go that route for my first. Besides, I’m not convinced I’d actually save much money by making my own. The individual components themselves aren’t really that expensive to buy; it just all adds up. It’d really be more about satisfaction in doing it myself; I may get there, but not this first time around. I’m going to have enough to think about without worrying whether I’ve made things correctly.
I will, however, at least be purchasing the components “unassembled.” I think it will be extremely useful for me to put the hive together myself, so I have the chance to really understand how it all works. But I’ll also know that I have all the correct pieces that fit together the way they’re supposed to.
An expense that I had not considered: a bear fence. Pooh Bear’s love of his hunny jar was based in fact, and they apparently live where we’ll be moving — black bears, that is, not Pooh Bears. (I may need to keep an eye out for little black rain clouds, hovering over my honey hives…) So, I’m going to need to invest in an electric fence powerful enough to deter bears. Will hopefully get some advice on that at my bee class next weekend!
For those interested in what I’ll be starting out with, I’m working on another post describing the equipment.