Beekeeping Start-up Costs
When it comes to beekeeping, there’s always something else you can purchase, but I’ll give you a good rundown of the basic beekeeping start-up costs.
I recently teamed up with the Traditional Homestead and we agreed to write guest posts for each other. I believe in the idea of a community for homesteaders, and I love that we’re taking that idea to a digital level.
We have bees at our homestead, and Meghan asked me to write about the financial aspect of getting your first bee colony.
The Cost of Bees for Your Start-Up
Your first beekeeping start-up cost will be your bees. You might be lucky enough to catch a wild swarm for free, but most people begin beekeeping by purchasing a nuc of bees or a package of bees.
A nuc is a small bee box with a few bee frames that holds a queen, worker bees, and usually some honey and brood.
A package of bees comes with a queen and worker bees, but it does not include the brood, honey, or frames.
The cost of a nuc can range depending on where you purchase from or where you live. You can expect to pay somewhere around $200 for a five-frame nuc.
Package bees can be anywhere from $120 – $250 dollars depending on where you purchase them. (You can learn more about package bees in our YouTube video.)
Total cost for bees: $120-$250
Your Bees Need a Home
Your second beekeeping startup cost will be a beehive. There are many different styles of beehives, but we use the Langstroth style beehive. This is the type that has boxes with a series of frames inside that allow bees to lay eggs and store honey.
A ten-frame complete hive from Mann Lake (a popular beekeeping supply company) will run about $200. Amazon also has a complete hive running for around $150.
These hives come with one deep box and one super, but as your hive grows you will want to expand which will require the cost of more deeps and more supers. A super with frames will cost around $55-$65 dollars, and a deep box with frames will run around $65-$70.
Some people save money by making their own bee boxes or buying them used.
Total cost for a starter beehive: $150-$200
Another important aspect of beekeeping is your personal protective gear. You may have seen people handling bees in shorts and a t-shirt, but I wouldn’t personally recommend it. Honeybees are not aggressive by nature, but they will certainly become so if they feel that their home is being threatened in some way. When you open their boxes, they’ll naturally be on alert.
You may be able to check your hive without being stung, but chances are you won’t be so lucky. (Note, you may be stung even with protective gear, but you will keep yourself much safer if you’re properly attired).
At a minimum, you would want to have a beekeeping veil, beekeeping gloves, pants, a long sleeve shirt (thick flannels can work well), and pants. You don’t want your open skin to be exposed so make sure your shirt is tucked into your pants, your veil properly covers your neck, and your pants are securely tucked into your boots.
I personally like to wear a beekeeping jacket or a complete suit when I’m working with the bees. I do think bees can sense your fear and anxiety, and knowing I’m completely covered helps me have a more peaceful interaction with the bees.
Total cost for beekeeping PPE: $15-$40 for gloves, $20-$40 for a veil, $50-$200 for a beekeeping jacket or suit.
A Beekeeping Smoker
A beekeeping smoker is something that you can use to help keep your bees calm while you’re investigating their hive or removing honey frames. A smoker can be very beneficial and the cost is minimal.
Total cost for a smoker: $20
A hive tool allows you to open your hive, remove frames, and check the health of your colony. A bee brush is useful for gently removing bees from a frame, especially if you plan on taking one for honey.
These are not expensive tools, but very helpful!
Total cost of these tools: Hive tool: $10-$20 Bee brush: $7-$15
Your Total Beekeeping Start-up Costs
Prices may vary in your area or depending on where you purchase them, but you can expect your initial basic beekeeping start-up costs to be around $400.
As your apiary grows, you will likely accrue more costs, but this will be your initial investment.
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