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How Much Does It Cost to Start Beekeeping?

Last Updated: 27.09.20

 

Depending on what you buy exactly, setting up one beehive can cost between $200 and $800 for basic materials, in the first year, while the overall cost to start beekeeping depends on the number of beehives, the models, and the materials you select. You might want to read our recent post about beehive kits for more info on that.

 

Getting started

If you are thinking of starting your own apiary, perhaps the first concern is the one related to the costs. That is actually where you want to start because if you begin and end up without all the necessary materials, you’ve already wasted money and time. It is not easy to say the exact sum one will spend when getting started. 

The variables are many because you have to select between the quality, quantity, size of the materials, whether the materials are bought as part of a package or individually, supplier, shipping distance, kind of bees, and so on.

 

Steps

Before you actually get started, there are a few steps you need to go through to make sure you can accomplish your plan. First and foremost, make sure that you have at least 1/10th of an acre of land. For this, you can consult the documents linked to your property to determine the exact size of your yard. 

Generally, a city-sized lot is approximately one-tenth of an acre and can accommodate one colony of bees. Based on this information, you can determine how many colonies you can set up in your yard. You should also make sure that the bees will have a clear flight path and you will not interrupt their ability to prosper.

The next thing you need to consider is the local laws. You can inquire your local officials, or a county extension, or even a beekeeping organization regarding the ordinances related to bee colonies. 

You also need to know the regulations about the number of hives and the minimum space required between the hives and your property line. This will prevent you from breaking local codes or having to pay fines. 

Moving on, you should know that it is recommended to start beekeeping projects in the fall. These insects’ behavior depends entirely on the climate. You can use the time in the autumn and winter to read books on beekeeping, gather the necessary supplies to build your hive, and also a source for your bees. 

You should introduce the bees to the hive only in the spring when the early flowers start appearing. If you begin your project in the fall months you can ensure that the bees will be able to collect pollen and nectar in the spring and summer. This will lead to a strong and healthy hive.

The next step would be for you to buy a top bar hive, in case you want something lightweight. Find a local beekeeping supplier which sells ten-pound top bar hives. You can also order it online, depending on what you prefer. The advantages of using this type of hive are many. 

 

 

First, it is lightweight as the overall weight will not go over 40 pounds. Also, it is a great choice if you want only one or two hives in your apiary. However, you should know that you are required to perform regular maintenance if you want your colony to thrive.

As you might have guessed, there are various options when it comes to the types of hives. You can also purchase a Warre hive. This is a good option if you do not have a problem with higher weights, as this model goes over 40 pounds. 

It is also a good alternative if you want one or two colonies for your apiary. You will also need to perform occasional maintenance, but you will be able to see your bees in action when you want to.

While you are looking at a Warre hive, you can also check the Langstroth model as well. This is an excellent choice if you want your apiary to contain more than two hives. Such a unit also weighs over 40 pounds and it requires occasional maintenance. You will not be able to see your bees in action like in the case of the Warre-type hive.

Once you decide on the type of hive and their number, you will also have to consider purchasing other tools as well. You cannot handle bees without basic protective clothing, or the necessary tools that will help you keep the bee colony thriving. 

The protective gear should contain a bee suit with gloves. You can also go for a simple hat and veil, as well as a lightweight jacket. You will also need a smoker to calm the bees while you have to work in the hive. The hive tool is a mini pry bar that is particularly used in beekeeping. You will need to purchase one of those too.

 

Costs

By now, you should have been able to make an idea about the items you will need to purchase. For a person who is new to beekeeping, the hive kits are notably variable and difficult to compare. For example, you can buy a Langstroth hive for a little over $100. You can also go for a classic cedar kit which costs around $750. 

Of course, options may vary anywhere between these two sums depending on the equipment you get, the supplier, and the number. So, if you want to start a two-hive apiary, it will cost you anywhere from $100 to $1500. It is very important for us to mention that there are many types of beehive kits for sale that lack various important parts such as a stand, for example. 

This piece will have you spend a few more bucks, so you should add that to the initial sum we’ve already mentioned. Before you make any purchase, make sure that the kit you want to order has everything you need.

The basic tools are pretty much the same for any apiary. It is important to have a bee suit, smokers, hive tools, and a bee brush. Options on these products will vary. Unfortunately, you might end up using several tools, until you find the ones that you find most comfortable to work with.

You also have the option to purchase these items as a set or purchase them individually. Kits usually cost less. The prices for these products vary so much that we cannot even put an approximate sum. 

 

 

Besides these, you will also need something to get rid of mites. There are many beekeepers who prefer using vaporizers. Such a product can cost from around $80 to $200 depending on the type and features as well. With this, you will also need a 12-volt battery, gloves, and a respirator.

We also need to think about the consumable supplies which are not very expensive, but they are necessary. These include smoker fuel, sugar, mite treatments, and pollen supplements. Of course, these are huge variables because it depends on the type, supplier, and, of course, the number of hives you are taking care of. 

If you want to extract honey, there are a few other items you will need to buy, rent, or borrow. An extractor is necessary for this operation. Then, you will have to filter the honey and put it in jars. If you want to sell it, you will also need labels.

If you want to start an apiary and go online to find more information about the costs that are involved, you will see that they vary a lot, depending on the source. One of them estimated the initial cost at $500 for the first hive and $300 for each additional one. Another source made an estimation for $700 for one colony and $1200 for two hives. 

The bottom line is that you should do a lot of research before you start doing anything. As previously mentioned, there are many products out there and their prices vary. Read beekeeping books, go online and look for websites that are dedicated to this activity, and ask specialists. 

Leaving aside the hive, equipment, tools, and consumables, you also need bees. A three-pound package with a mated queen can cost anywhere between $130 to $185, and even $200. It also depends on where you live because shipping bees is very expensive.

 

Conclusion

Since we are not a beekeeping supply store, we cannot tell you the exact costs of starting an apiary. However, this article is a good starting point in regards to what you need to consider and the types of tools and equipment you need to look for. From here on, we are sure you are going to make the most appropriate choices that best suit your needs.

 

 

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